Marc Ankenbauer's 10+ year quest to jump in every named lake in Glacier and Waterton National Parks for charity.
168 lakes. Only 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
ZERO LAKES LEFT!!!
-- Marc jumped into Fisher Cap Lake on Sunday September 8th, 2013 to complete his goal! --
Read about Marc and how this project started...

Observation Hill : McMurdo’s Local Mountain

Observation Hill is a small mountain or a large hill on the outskirts of McMurdo Station…

It is the Antarctica version of the little, after work, local mountain.

On top of the summit there is a large cross that was placed there in honor of Robert Falcon Scott.

He was the famous British explorer that was the second to ever reach the South Pole, but passed away on the return trip.

There are hiking trails that go around “Ob Hill” and to the summit cross.

 

 

The trail around Observation Hill starts near the helicopter landing pad.

We even saw a helicopter flying in from the field right as we started our trip.

 

 

As the trail gained elevation the entire edge of McMurdo Station became visible with the huge people carrier headed out to the sea ice airstrip.

 

 

We were surprised by a C17 which was coming in from Christchurch, New Zealand.

We sat on rocky hillside and watched it land on the sea ice landing strip.

 

 

There is another airstrip called Pegasus which is further out on the Ice shelf.

It gets used later in the season when the sea ice melts too much to be solid.

 

 

The trail continues along the edge of the Ross Sea through black volcanic rock.

Absolutely nothing but rock and snow…Nothing.

 

 

At the base of the mountain there were three Weddell Seals lounging near the cracks in the sea ice.

 

 

We rounded a bend in the trail and my fellow hikers were silhouetted against the expanse of the never ending Ross Ice Shelf.

 

 

The New Zealand’s Scott Research Base was visible out on the point with Mt. Terror in the background.

 

 

The trail got pretty steep at points with snow jammed in the winding trail.

 

 

I was overwhelmed by the opportunity to be out hiking in this surreal place.

I needed to be sure to pose for a photo with the ever present Mt. Discovery.

 

 

The Observation Hill summit trail leads directly out of McMurdo Station and is well steeper.

 

 

I kept waiting to do the climb because it had been wicked cold and windy.

Cold is one thing but the wind makes it ridiculous up there pretty quickly.

I had to finally just choose to go.

All in all it was alright and the wind was still blowing snow across the ground.

 

 

The surrounding landscape grows and grows as the trail rises upward.

Far in the distance is White Island which is bound on all sides by the Ross Ice Sheet.

 

 

When I was almost to the summit the last group was starting the descent.

 

 

I was left to a peaceful 10 minute window to take in the 360 degree panorama.

I set up a tripod and got a shot of myself on the summit.

The double volcanoes were looming in the background and the road to Scott base was visible far below

 

 

Anytime a trail gains even a little elevation around town Mt. Erebus pops above the skyline.

 

 

Mt. Terror and its profound amount of ice was a great backdrop for the wind turbines that help power the US and Kiwi stations.

 

 

Right before I left to come down here, National Geographic wrote an article about Mt. Erebus.

It is the southernmost active volcano on earth.

Its almost always steaming because there is an actual lake of molten lava at the bottom.  For Real!!

If that’s not cool enough, the steam coming out of the steam vents freezes when it hits air and creates crazy Dr Seuss like vent tube creature looking things.

Wait, wait…And there is cool crystals that form out of volcanic minerals which makes them bizarro hard.

Ah, Mt. Erebus…

 

 

I bid the summit farewell and started heading back towards town to make sure I hit up dinner.

 

 

This might be the craziest thing I’ve ever looked at from a 25 minute hike.

I guess you’ll have that on the regional tour.  Huh, Spicer?

I suppose we are in Antarctica…

Thanks OB Hill.

 

 

I hope this finds each and everyone of you having a simply splendid day.

To Life

 

0 comments