30 November, 2001
The date on this journal should read 11/30/01--it is in fact 12/3 for me. I have been out of communication for three (might become four) days. I have handwritten the journal entries, and so I'll try to get them typed as soon as I can, but there are a few technical details that I'd like to throw out: 1) We are at the "Lower Erebus Hut" after being in acclimatization camp for two days. The communication is primitive--I'm fortunate to be able to e-mail at all. It's very slow, making the posting of pictures a near impossibility. I will attempt to do it anyway.
2) Best to avoid my hotmail account, if possible.
3) Please don't send me pictures or large files. They take forever to download, and the other members of the team are waiting for e-mail too. Sorry about all that. On to the 29th.....
Having survived survival school, six of us were whisked by helicopter up to Fang Glacier on Mt. Erebus. The entire mission; hang out and get used to life at 10,000 feet. The result; jaw-dropping beauty, complete stillness, the bluest sky, the brightest sun--God's creation in stark reality. The glacier lies between two imposing slopes, one rising to the summit and the other jagged cliffs of black volcanic rock jutting out from the ice and snow. Walk to the edge and the vista is the frozen sea far below with icebergs still locked in the flat expanse and open water far in the distance. Mt. Terror, it's peak at eye level across the way could easily make one believe they were climbing the highest mountain in the world. I climbed the ridge opposite the summit. The rock is not my home rock. Black and imbedded with crystals. I climbed (too far) up the opposite slope toward the summit and found fantastic feathery crystals growing flat like fins out of the surface of the snow fields. I just laughed out loud (actually there was a little choking up in it too--a funny mix). It was all I could do. My God, what are we that you are mindful of us?
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