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Climbing Castle Rock

MCMURDO STATION, ANTARCTICA– Today we flew to McMurdo station. This is the first time in six years that my flight to McMurdo has gone ahead on schedule – weather delays are common when flying to Antarctica.

Nathan Whitehorn, a coworker of mine, and I flew down on a US military heavy cargo aircraft called a C-17 “Globemaster”.

The C-17 “Globemaster.”

The spacious interior of the C-17. It’s large enough to hold four Black Hawk helicopters.

The views from the plane as we flew over the mountainous interior and icepacks are always spectacular.

The mountainous interior of the continent.

An aerial view of the sea ice.

It is always pretty awe-inspiring when you get off the plane and one of the first things you see is Mount Erebus with its volcanic plume.

Arriving at McMurdo. In the background is Mount Erebus.

After we arrived in McMurdo, the first thing we did was get checked out safety-wise to climb Castle Rock. Every time I go to McMurdo I have wanted to hike this famous spot, and this year I finally got my chance. We were able to get checked out, and the weather was good.

It is a 4-mile hike to Castle Rock across the ice.

Castle Rock with Mount Erebus in the background.

Castle Rock (with a warming hut in the foreground).

You actually climb Castle Rock with the help of some prepositioned ropes.

Me climbing up Castle Rock.

Nathan climbing.

The view from the summit is amazing.

Nathan climbing back down.

Another one of Nathan climbing back down.

The path back towards McMurdo.

The two of us after we had climbed the Rock.

It was a really fun day. We returned from climbing Castle Rock at 1:15am (at this time of year, it never gets dark).

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One Response »

  1. Hi Mark,

    It is exciting to see the snaps of your trip. I am a philatelist from India with a passion for Polar Regions and its related postal items.

    I am looking to have some piece of your adventure by receiving postally cancelled covers with special cancellations from your expeditions.

    I can send you mint covers affixed with stamps that you can cancel and send them back to me. I will also send a return envelope with packing with my address and stamps affixed. Just let me know the value.

    I request if you can help me to share your adventure this way.


    Ajay Sirpal
    Mumbai India.