Stan Love, G-058 Larkman Nunatak Camp 2013 January 5
Every Scott tent in every field camp in Antarctica has a chandelier hanging from the apex. Here is a picture of ours.
The photo may be a bit hard to interpret. Recall that the Scott tent is shaped like a pyramid about eight feet on a side. The pointed top of the tent is where the vents are located, and where all the heat from the stove rises to. It can get quite warm up there, 70 or 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The floor is usually around freezing. Generations of Scott tent inhabitants have figured out that the top of the tent is the place to put anything that you want to keep warm. Newer and better versions of the tent include some tether points and a nice built-in clothesline near the top to hang things from.
It’s not enough.
We’ve had to add two additional clotheslines to handle all the stuff we want to keep warm. It’s a long list, as you might guess from the picture. It includes: 1. our Bunny Boots, which are quite warm but also impervious to water vapor, so your feet get saturated with sweat when wearing them for hours at a time. If you don’t dry your boots thoroughly every night, they rapidly become unapproachable. 2. our work socks, inner and outer layers, which also need airing and drying for the same reason. 3. gloves. 4. laundered underwear that needs to be dried. 5. tomorrow morning’s juice boxes, which are undrinkable little bricks unless thawed. 6. honey and pancake syrup, also unusable until thawed. 7. goggles, which get iced up with condensation from your breath and need to be heated and dried. 8. neck gaiters, for the same reason. 9. washcloths and wet wipes. 10. canned fruit for future consumption, inedible until thawed. and various and sundry similar items.
A close look at the picture, which was taken shortly before Christmas, will reveal another item: the turkey for the holiday feast. Yes, for five days before Christmas we had a fourteen-pound turkey suspended from our tent roof, defrosting in the warm environment there. Actually it ended up being *too* warm, and we had to find a slightly cooler spot to defrost the turkey without spoiling it. Another item suspended for defrosting, a package of steaks, developed a leak which led to my teammate’s Lovecraftian experience detailed a few blog entries ago. After that horror, we double-bag anything hung in the top of the tent that could possibly leak.