Quick Break to Climb Observation Hill

After a really long day in the lab, Sarah, Dave, Angela, Elena and I grabbed dinner and decided to go hiking up Observation Hill. Well, it’s not really a hill like we’re used to. This hill is a 1500 ft, super steep climb that is all loose volcanic rocks and boulders. It’s a great post-dinner activity down here at McMurdo, or a great way to accidentally break a leg after eating too much. JK.  During our hike up there were three stopping points for picture taking and to catch your breath. First is a plateau where there are several communication repeaters and a plaque dedicated to the PM-3A medium power nuclear power plant that once supplied energy to McMurdo in the early 1970s.

The rest of the hike was challenging. It was steep with loose lava stones, and there was little room for error. Once we got to the top, we could see the never-ending horizon over the Ross ice sheet and could see Willy, Pegasus, and Phoenix Air Fields in the distance. The weather was crystal clear, and we had the most phenomenal view of the open blue sky and the white continent. We took a bunch of team photos and admired the breathtaking views. But the real challenge was the way down. Loose lava stones had us skidding all the way and holding on to anything for dear life. Except for crazy Scott, who decided it was a ski hill and decided to run down it! We all made it down safely and were so happy we squeezed in this breathtaking 90-minute hike…

20161218_201912Figure 1: Elena and Angela at the summit.