glacier_kitty: (arctica)
[personal profile] glacier_kitty
I finished Frozen in Time, so I'm going to share some passages from the book I found funny/interesting lol

Greenland makes no sense. First there's the name, which as most schoolchildren know should be Iceland, but that was already taken. Almost nothing green grows in Greenland, where more than eighty percent of the land is buried under deep ice...Greenland's colorful name is blamed on a colorful Viking called Erik the Red. Erik went to sea when he was exiled from nearby Iceland in the year 982, after he killed two men in a neighborhood dispute. In addition to being an explorer, a fugitive killer, and a lousy neighbor, Erik was the world's first real estate shrill. He christened his discovery Greenland in the belief that a "good name" would encourage his countrymen to settle there with him

In a world where size generally matters, Greenland's doesn't. The island is globally overlooked despite being enormous: more than sixteen hundred miles from north to south, and eight hundred miles at its widest point. Greenland could swallow Texas and California and still have room for a dessert of New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, and all of New England...Yet Greenland is the world's loneliest place. With fifty-eight thousand residents, it has the lowest population density of any country or dependent territory. Only Antarctica, with no permanent residents, makes Greenland seen crowded. If Manhattan had the same population density of Greenland, its population would be two

Driven by gravity, large bodies of ice called glaciers flow towards the sea like slow-moving rivers. When a glacier's leading edge runs out of land, it fulfills its destiny by hurling itself piece by piece into the water. The process, called calving, is loud and violent and magnificent. Big pieces of glaciers are reborn as icebergs, some big enough to sink an unsinkable ship

Glaciers pour like lemmings into the waters of the bay, filling it with enormous sculpted icebergs. Each of the three fjords in Koge Bay had its own name, but the largest and most westerly of the three was called simply the Koge Bay fjord. Native Greenlanders called it Pikiutdlek, or "place where, when we first arrived, there was a bird's nest." In Greenland, birds are uncommon enough to merit special note

Also, they learned to leave their gloves outside in the cold. Otherwise, each time the gloves thawed they absorbed more water, making it worse when they froze again. The men began to accept the reality that they were stranded in a place so cold that frozen gloves were better than soggy, half-thawed gloves

Tetley and Spencer were doing their best to keep him alive, but nothing could save O'Hara's frozen feet. Not massages, not fresh dressings, not prayer. Deprived of blood flow, they'd been dying for weeks. Dry gangrene did its witch doctor's work, leaving the twenty-four-year-old lieutenant with blackened, mummified lumps below his ankle. As O'Hara lay helpless in the ice hole, nursed and protected by his friends, living tissue separated from dead flesh. In layman's terms, Bill O'Hara's feet fell off into his boots

As frustration deepens over the inaccurate GPS readings, nerves get frayed, patience wears thin, and an old word gets a new meaning. In its original use, an icehlole is a shaft WeeGee melts into the glacier using the Hotsy. Or, more accurately, it's a shaft that he would melt if we knew where to search. As hours slip past with little progress, icehole is repurposed as a term of disparagement, used to describe anyone seen as not carrying his or her weight or doing his or her job. As in, "He's being an icehole." The phrase gets a workout

They pounced on the package as soon as it hit. Best got the lion's share, but there were letters for all three...A favorite passage came in a letter from Monteverde's family. It said the War Department wouldn't reveal where his plane crashed, but the family pieced together enough clues to conclude that he was stuck in a place with lots of ice. Monteverde's relatives in sunny California advised him to be patient and wait for it to melt. The trio laughed at the thought, knowing that if they followed the advice they'd be stuck in Greenland for several millennia

That night, the PN9E trio unwrapped clean, dry socks and fresh clothes they'd saved for their departure. They'd been unwashed and unshaven for more than four months, their hair so long and unkempt that they barely resembled their fresh-faced military portraits. They reeked, and they knew it. But at least when they left their Greenland snow cave, they'd be wearing clean underwear

And here's someone's review of The Ice Balloon, another book I read recently, which I thought was hilarious lol:

I know some of you are sitting at home right now and thinking to yourselves, "I am bored. I will go on an adventure. I will go to the North Pole! I WILL GO THERE IN A BALLOON!!"

No, friends. No. I am here to tell you this is a terrible idea.

Do you want to know what will happen if you attempt to get to the North Pole in a hot air balloon?


You will die.

You will die horribly.

You will die, and no one will find your body for fifty years, and they’ll be like, "Hmm, this person doesn’t appear to have been killed by a polar bear whilst awaiting a slow frozen death out on an iceberg, but I guess we can’t know for sure!"

For realsies.

The Arctic--as far as I could tell from this really interesting book--is a terrifying, hellish wasteland littered with the bodies of brilliant and foolhardy men. S. A. Andrée is one such person, and it was incredible to get to look at the (recovered from the ice years after his death) photos and read the (recovered from the ice years after his death) journal entries detailing this trip.

More spoilers ahead.

So he decides, being a famous Swedish aeronaut, that he’s going to venture up to the aforementioned wasteland of the Arctic. There’s a ton of people doing it simultaneously, so he’s in good company. (In some ways, it seems like an awesome sort of boys’ club – explorers out on the ice, while trudging endlessly in one direction or the other, would stumble upon another expedition, and they’d chill and smoke a pipe and eat an auk or something, and then wave goodbye and head off again.) Everyone is very pumped, and his take-off is breathlessly followed by the entire woooorld.

Unfortunately, things go wrong, as they do when you go exploring a place commonly referred to as "the Realm of Death."

The wind was too windy. The balloon wasn’t holding enough hydrogen. And the steering ropes were not, um… steering. Despite this, Andrée’s two companions were all, "Andrée is too careful. It is disgusting to see."

These are all direct quotes, for the record.

So Andrée caves to peer pressure, which you should NEVER EVER DO, kids, because what happens is that they’re only in their balloon for about sixty hours and then they crash in the middle of nowhere. "Twice I examined the horizon carefully in every direction without discovering land," says Andrée.

They decide to set off in a miscellaneous, east-ish direction, and spend two months roaming the ice packs. "This is extremely fatiguing!" says Andrée.

And here is the saddest part of the story, because the ice packs are not drifting east. The poor guys walk and pull sledges and exhaust themselves, and at the end of each day have maybe hacked themselves a mile east, but have drifted miles farther west. "This is not encouraging," says Andrée.

So months pass, and numerous wounds are incurred, and they shoot a bird, and then finally drag themselves to an island full of bears. There, they plan to build a house. And sort of recoup from their super-pointless trek. "We shall have to gather driftwood and bones of whale, and will have to do some moving," says Andrée.

The end.

Because then they all died, for unknown reasons. It was really fairly sad.

Anyway! As an added bonus, this book contains lots of other fascinating factoids, including details of the North Pole quest of Adolphus Greely.

I will give you a clue about how that trip ended.

"I am a dying man… I ate only my own boots and part of an old pair of pants I received from Lieutenant Kislingbury. I feel myself going fast, but I wish it would go yet faster."


"Seven of us left. Here we are, dying like men. Did what we came to do. Beat the best record."

And, wait for it

"On one side, close to the opening, with his head towards the outside, lay what was apparently a dead man. His jaw had dropped, his eyes were open, but fixed and glassy, his limbs were motionless. On the opposite side was a poor fellow, alive to be sure, but without hands or feet, and with a spoon tied to the stump of his right arm."

Also cannibalism.

In summary, if you do venture off in search of the North Pole (hint -- it has already been found) don't say I didn't warn you.

THE WIND WAS TOO WINDY omg hahaha. I should say that sometime :P
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