Four of us made the trip: Graham Roberts oversees virtual-reality projects at The Times; Evan Grothjan has filmed Times VR projects on five continents; Justin Gillis is a climate reporter; and I am the graphics editor for the Science desk.
We were confined to the station for the first few days, until we completed our orientation and field safety training. A mountaineer in a “Gut moose?” T-shirt showed new arrivals how to secure a tent on snow, drill an ice anchor, prime a camp stove and recognize hypothermia.
(One survival takeaway: If you’re ever stuck in a tent in remote Antarctica, don’t bother using your signal mirror for signaling. There’s probably nobody on the horizon to see your flashes, anyway. The best the mirror can do is keep you distracted by providing something interesting to look at: yourself.)
After training, we were allowed to leave the relative safety of the station and film ice in all its forms: the seasonal sea ice covering McMurdo Sound, the pressure ridges dotted with Weddell seals and their weaning pups, the Texas-size floating pancake of the Ross Ice Shelf, a cascading edge of the East Antarctic ice sheet, and more glaciers than we could count or name.
Several McMurdo veterans told us that we saw more of Antarctica in two…