Life in McMurdo City

Life in McMurdo City : Visit Operations : Tour the Continent : Write Me

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My first impression of Antarctica was my arrival at the Ice Runway at McMurdo Station on Ross Island. Ross Island is near the west coast of McMurdo Sound, and for 9 months out of the year is surrounded by 10 foot deep pack ice. Up until early December, the landing strip for C130s is in the middle of that pack ice. From the Ice Runway, you can see McMurdo Station sitting on the side of an active volcano - Mount Erebus.

Welcome to McMurdo A View from the Flightline

Our dormitories were actually kind of nice. They were alot like the dorms I had in college or in field training, with a bathroom down the hall and all the comforts of home in the rooms. Each building had a dayroom on the main floor, and building 206 even has a sauna. The only difficulty was in devising a tin-foil blackout curtain for the window, to keep the 24-hour sunlight from shining through at bedtime.

The Dorms My Hallway My Room

McMurdo has a population of about 1200 during the season (October through March), and about 250 who "winter over". The town is fairly small in size, but includes every possible service to make life on this frontier livable. Besides the dormitories, there is a chow hall, shoppette, post office, several bars, chapel, fire department, waste disposal, harbor, fuel station, laboratories, aquarium, barber shop, recreational facilities, taxi service, etc., etc., etc. You name it - McMurdo probably has it.

Chapel of the Snows The Harbor Closeup of the City

Overlooking McMurdo Station are several hills, starting with Erebus - an active volcano. There is also a large hill called Observation Peak or "Ob Hill". The view from Ob Hill is tremendous, as it overlooks both the pack ice and both valleys.

Looking Up Ob Hill Looking at Erebus Over the Hill
Chris Halfway Up Halfway Up Over McMurdo Jeff "VD" at the Top

A "Wide Angle" View From the Top

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E-Mail Last updated on 19 November 2000 by Chris Miller Go Top


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