A friend is a winter-over staff member this season at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station. The station is accessable by air only for part of the year. The last flight left more than a month ago or so. This is her second tour at the south pole. The elevation there is at 2835 meters above sea level, so not only is the cold due to the low sun angle, but also due to altitude.
Life here at Pole is quite the experience. Today’s winds are up around 20 knots and that knocks visibility down to about nothing. The snow is so dry and icy, any winds kick it up like a sand storm. So no outside treks for yours truly today. In fact, I only make it outside maybe twice or three times a week. If auroras are dancing, I’ll suit up and make the effort because standing under the amazing manifestation of solar winds is just breathtaking. –South Pole Susan 5/8/11
My friend said that her colleague, Marco Polie, is still skiing every day, but lately it’s too extreme even for him with wind chill temps down to -130 F and zero visibility. Getting lost in a whiteout would be tragic.
People used to joke that the only difference between going to sea and going to jail is the added risk of drowning. Sounds like a similar thing could be said about wintering at the pole.