The 300 club is a South Pole tradition where when the temperature outside drops below -100F we crank the sauna up to +200F and run naked from there to the geographic pole. I’d done it two years ago during my last trip down here, and today was my opportunity to do it again.
The temperature has dropped below -100 several times this year, but today is the first time that it has stayed there for more than just a few minutes. Its also the first time that it dipped below the magic number at a decent time of the afternoon. I’d been trying to decide if I wanted to do it again this year, but there was a feeling of excitement in the science building about this that was impossible to resist.
12 of us gathered together in the old sauna, but with that many bodies it took forever to get up to 200 degrees. After an hour the heat was finally sufficient, and we crammed in and sweated in there for as long as we could stand it. Finally we were ready, and all headed out. Now, I knew the trick to this is to not run because the -100 air will just damage your lungs, but unfortunately the excitement of the moment caught up with me, and I headed out at full throttle. About halfway to the pole, I realized I was pointing the wrong direction, and finally spotted the guy who was out there marking the spot with a flashlight. I decided to slow down, and did a fast walk the rest of the way, but the damage was done. By the time I got back, I was already coughing and hacking…enough people had done the same thing that the sauna sounded like a TB ward while we all tried to warm up. After about 90 minutes I started breathing normally again, but it’ll take a couple of days to be back to 100%.
By the way, several people have asked this….that’s frost, not grey hair!