Sunday, January 6, 2008

Castle Rock

Hello everybody,

Greetings from McMurdo. Yes, we are still in McMurdo. The weather has prevented us from getting to our deep field site for two weeks now! And unfortunately, the completion of our project is in jeopardy unless we can get out immediately and have perfect weather for the next two weeks. But you can't control the weather so we will install as many stations as we can in the time we have. In the meantime, I have been taking advantage of the Ross Island trail system (McMurdo is actually on a volcanic island, Ross Island in particular). So I've posted some pictures from my most recent hike to Castle Rock with my friends Russ and Lou. Castle Rock is an old volcanic plug or volcanic neck. It was formed when lava hardened in the vent of an active volcano. Subsequent erosion has removed the surrounding rock leaving behind the erosion-resistant plug that produces the distinctive landform shown in the picture below. The trail was about seven miles round trip. You can check out our route on the map below (yellow trail). And of course we made the side trip and climbed to the top of the rock. What a view! The pictures just don't do it justice. All in all it was a great hike and a great experience, despite the fact that it was pretty cold (15-20F) with a steady wind of about 30-35 mph. The wind is what kills you. But we got bundled up and braved the elements anyway. Hope you enjoy the pics!

Castle Rock trail.

Me and my friend Lou. I'm on the left.

Me near the base of the rock. Some clouds started to move in once we finally got there.

Some shots of us climbing to the top. It was a pretty good climb but manageable. They have some ropes set up to help you get to the top. There is no way we would have made it without the ropes and metal cleats on our boots. It is a long fall to the bottom if you slip on the ice!

Me at the top!

View of the top. The dark colored rock is the lava tube or plug itself. The reddish brown rock is the surrounding rock that is being eroded away.

My friend Russ at the top.

Me at the top.

Me and Russ at the top.


kfourcat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kfourcat said...

Hey Mitch,
Love the postcard! I was just reading Glamour and there is a girl profiled in the magazine that is there at McMurdo. Her name is Stephanie and she is with Ohio University. Talk to you later!

brian said...

Those hikes look like a lot of fun. Too bad I didn't have that much down time when I was there to do any of them. I did make it over to Scott's Hut though. Speaking of which, did you have a chance to participate in the Scott Hut Run (5 mile, I think)? I ran it and have the T-shirt to prove it!