Martial Glacier, Ushuaia, Argentina, Nov. 8, 2011

Before the Antarctic cruise the guides recommended a training day in Ushuaia. A short road from town leads to a refugio and short chairlift at 1,300 feet. From there we hiked starting about 2PM up ~800 vertical to the receding spring snowline.

Tierra del Fuego lived up to its reputation as it drizzled on most of the walk up. Our guide was Forrest McCarthy from Jackson Hole. He wanted us to become familiar with using ropes and harnesses before any glacier travel in Antarctica. We're gearing up here.

So we roped up even though we were well below the permanent snow of the Martial Glacier.

The idea was to get used to climbing in a group at the same pace. And for Forrest to check out our use of AT gear as none of us had that much experience. Kick turns on switchbacks were a challenge for some as they had been for me on Shasta in June. The drizzle continued intermittently and finally turned to snow with some wind here at 3,000 feet.

Despite the interesting terrain ahead we stopped here as it was getting late and gloves, packs etc. were soaked from the rain. Liz starting down.

When I started down I ventured a couple of turns in what looked like untracked but it was like thick paste so better to ski in the skier packed snow. With 50+ people on the cruise out there today most of the snow was packed. Farther down here are Tom from Chico, CA and Norbert from Perth, Australia.

Liz here

The last section on snow. Total skiing was 920 vertical feet.

While we were hiking down to the refugio we saw this rainbow.

Back at the hotel all kinds of stuff needed to be dried out before being packed for the cruise the next morning. We cranked the heat up high and left a window open, got everything dry except some gloves that we put in a mesh pocket and then finished drying on the ship.

On Nov. 9 we toured the Tierra del Fuego National Park, boarded Clipper Adventurer ~4PM and set sail ~6PM. The cruise was serene through dinner as it takes 3-4 hours to get out of the Beagle Channel into the open ocean.