Date: 01/17/04
Latitude: 78.03 degrees South
Longitude: 153.65 degrees East
Temperature: -16°C( 3°F)
Wind speed: 10 knots
Wind Chill: -25°C( -13°F)
Wind direction: not given
Elevation: 7,425 feet
Kilometers traveled: 2278

Notes on daily life:
By Dan

The remainder of our route from N036 to Taylor Dome has the highest crevasse potential of our entire journey so far. We will be taking extra precautions and safety measures for the rest of the traverse until we reach Taylor Dome.

Today was perhaps the most nerve-wracking day; we were traveling along a route that swings out to the East in order to avoid a potentially crevassed area that lies between the Trans-Antarctic Mountains and us. We were all a little nervous and we paid extra-special attention to our crevasse-detecting radar screen!

The first ~38 miles of our journey today were over very hard surface; this made for an extremely bumpy ride. During the last 12 miles the surface softened up considerably and became quite hilly. The second CAT even got stuck at one point because the climb was so steep.

We reached site N028 by 21:30 only two more days of driving until we reach Taylor Dome!

Date: 01/18/04
Latitude: 77.47 degrees South
Longitude: 155.82 degrees East
Temperature: -21°C( -6°F)
Wind speed: 18 knots
Wind Chill: -34°C( -30°F)
Wind direction: not given
Elevation: 7,650 feet
Kilometers traveled: 2359

Notes on daily life:
By Dan

A good days driving, we reached site N020 by 20:00. The weather is turning nasty; lots of blowing surface snow reducing visibility to a few hundred feet. If the weather stays like this at Taylor Dome, work will be difficult.

Tomorrow we pick up the Long Duration Balloon and head for the Dome fingers crossed for good weather.

Date: 01/19/04
Latitude: 77.78 degrees South
Longitude: 158.74 degrees East
Temperature: -21°C( -6°F)
Wind speed: 0 knots
Wind Chill: -26°C( -14°F)
Wind direction: not given
Elevation: 8,000 feet
Kilometers traveled: 2469

Notes on daily life:
By Dan

Final leg of the traverse, site N020 to Taylor Dome.
We left site N020 this morning surrounded by lots of blowing snow, cold temperatures (−25°C) and howling winds (20 knots). The low-visibility conditions were not good for driving, luckily the snow surface along our route was very soft and flat and we were able to make slow progress. As we approached the LDB landing site, the wind dropped and the sky cleared. We were very lucky to have good weather during the LDB recovery and we accomplished it in record time 2 hours!

Once we had the LDB science package (called TRACER) and parachute safely on board we got underway once again. As soon as we left the LDB site, a thick fog of diamond dust settled over us and reduced our visibility once again, but thankfully the wind did not pick back up. We had to stop the trains every 15 minutes or so to clean the radiator grilles (to prevent overheating). Three hours later we arrived at Taylor Dome, the time was 04:00. The diamond dust is still thick around us and the snow surface all around is covered by enormous (relatively!) frost flowers over 1cm across it gives the ground a strange fuzzy appearance. We are all very excited to have reached our final destination and relieved to have left the crevassed areas behind, but we are also very tired and in need of some well-deserved sleep…