Sunday, September 03, 2006

One of the Grand Old Traditions of Winter Overs

Well I have marked the last of the "must-do" off my list for the winter - The 300 Club. This past Saturday offered what appears to be the last chance for this season so I took it. For those not versed in it here is how it goes. Once the outside temperature reaches -100F you head to the sauna located on the first floor. You strip down to about nothing and bring the sauna up to +200F using cold water on the thermostat. Jeff DeRosa and I sat in there for about 30 minutes getting this up to temperature. Neal Scheibe came down after about 20 minutes to join it as did NOAA Tech Johan Booth. Sitting in a 195 degree sauna takes it out of you, I was sweating like a pig. Once we got the sauna to 200 (Thanks to Johan) we head out to door to the beer can. From here it is a flight of steps to the door. Then outside head towards the Geographical Pole over a large snow drift. I was the first to arrive and Don Jeter took the following glamorous shot.
Patrick "Blur" McClure - Winter 06 300 Club by Don Jeter
Okay, so I edited the photo so grade school kids who are writing about the South Pole don't stumble onto something that will ruin them forever. Then I stand out there for what seems forever as the incredibly pokey (as in slow) Jeff and Neal show up for this classic photo.

As you can tell Jeff edited this photo but I am too lazy to redo it. No man is incredibly proud at -100F if you know what I mean. And yes that is ice frozen on us. I tried to wipe the sweat from the sauna off, Neal and Jeff thought they'd give it a go as a purists (nothing except shoes, I wore a gaiter and gloves). By this time I was getting cold. Jeff and Neal are outside everyday, I am outside when something breaks or there is trauma team drill (no incidents this season). So we start to trek back in and the wind gets really cold and I can feel the exposed bits freezing. I sprint the last bit trying not to fall (which is really bad) on the snow drift. The three of us startle a burly electrician in the beer can (I'm sure he was not ready for a bunch of man nudity on the stairwell at 3:30p). Right back to first floor of the station (annoying our staff engineer who is trying to take out the trash by big naked bodies running down the hall). After a few minutes in the sauna you feel much better. No frostbite and not worse for the wear.

Jeter took this scroll shot just before we headed out. The picture is the patch you get at the end of the year for doing the 300 Club. It was definitely different and probably the dumbest thing I have done all winter. But where else can you do this?

Then we have an all hands meeting (where the Master Chief Lohr made sure everyone on station knew of my nakedness just an hour earlier). We decide to take a station photo outside in -100F (clothed this time). It is hard to take a group photo because everyone has to hold their breathe or all you get is white mist (water vapor freezing when leaving the mouth).

South Pole Winter Overs 2006 -100F Photo by Robert Schwarz

You can find me by looking at the guy on the ground (Robert Schwarz), straight up and first Green/Black jacket standing on right with blue gaiter (look familiar?) It was nice to get everyone outside with the twilight in the background. Well I think that will suffice for a post today, couple of other things to write about but I can only hold your attention so long.

If you need a copy of the unedited photo's email me and I will set you with a link. Lord knows why you would want to see it but it out there if you need it.


Blogger Running Rabbit said...

Edit photos? Whatever for, darling?? :-)

6:47 AM  
Blogger Blur said...

Don't want to lose my "family" status. Plus I would shock my NSF and Raytheon bosses when they read this back from the long weekend.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First it's Mr. December and now the -100 club. Maybe I don't know YOU anymore ;) or maybe it's your finally getting confortable with your body!


10:18 AM  
Blogger mcBlogger said...

I REALLY wish I could see these pictures. I know all about the sauna stuff. My mumsy is from Finland, and we are not allowed to go there without at least ONCE sitting in the sauna till your eyes are shrivelled and on fire, and then either jumping in snow, or in the Sea, depends on the season. I'll be in search of a computer that lets me view these pics on my break, for sure !!!

10:56 AM  
Blogger Blur said...

J - I don't think anyone is comfortable at -100F.

McBlogger - That sounds similar to McMurdo's Polar Plunge where they jump into the ocean after cutting a hole in the ice.

2:19 PM  
Blogger sans said...

You guys are the greatest!

3:42 PM  
Blogger Blur said...

sans - Maybe, but we are definitely the coolest.

4:22 PM  

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