Aguacate recipe

While training for mountain climbing, sometime I’ve wanted something to snack on.  Since none of the Mexican stores around Jackson sell their good salsa, the only option is the mass-production stuff at Albertsons and Smiths.  It’s okay but not nearly as good as from Northgate or Otay Farms in San Diego.  To get around this problem, I found and modified a recipe to make it taste like home.  Prices are in Jackson, WY costs…

Taken and modified from:

  • 2 ripe avocados (not too ripe though) ($2.50)
  • Juice of 4 lemons (keeps avocado green but makes it lemony) ($2.36)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (89¢)
  • 2-3 large serrano peppers (4 would be better) (19¢)
  • 3 tomatillos (74¢)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed (59¢)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt to taste

Chop avocados, put in blender, blend until creamy.  This makes ~3 cups of salsa.

Cost: $7.27 (minus olive oil, cumin, salt)

Shopping cart full of butter

When you go to Antarctica, you need massive calories.

Shopping cart butter
Shopping cart butter

A shopping cart full of butter is one of the ways to get those calories.  This mountain of butter was only part of the food I took to survive in continent 7.  The checkout couldn’t even ring this many items up on one receipt.  She had to run three credit card transactions for me to buy this.

Abu Gosch in Chile was a great place to purchase these supplies, cheaper than in Punta Arenas.  It just required a taxi ride out and a very understanding taxi driver coming back in.

Weight loss

The big question everyone wants to know us how much weight I lost. When I arrived in Chile, I weighed 170 pounds (77kg). After an 80 day expedition where 1/3 of my calories went bad in the last 2 weeks, I returned to the States weighing 145 pounds (66kg).


Amazingly, the loss did not occur until the last few weeks of the expedition. The problem became apparent when the towing harness began cutting into my waist, causing incessant trouble with my right hip. An adjustment of an inch was the difference between pain and relative comfort with the towing harness.

For so long, I had no problems with any of my traces or harness. However, once the irritation began, the chafing and pressure became increasingly distracting and problematic to the point where, by the end of the day, I was constantly fiddling to make things comfortable. Many times it got to the point of suffering with low grade discomfort rather than making an adjustment and having things become even worse.

A loss of 25 pounds (11kg) is not all that bad compared to the 2011-2012 season where some expeditioners lost upwards of 44 pounds (20kg). If I had dropped that much weight, making the pole would have been exceedingly troublesome.

As an interesting note, a pound of fat on humans is worth approximately 3500 calories. That means over the time I was losing weight, I was short roughly 87,500 calories. That wasn’t good but once the butter went rancid, there wasn’t much to do but thin out.

Living in America will make it easier to gain the weight back, though. All I have to do us over-eat by 1 apple sauce cup a day to gain a pound in a month. As I’m over-eating by way more than that, I’ll be chunked back up in no time.

Duffles of butter

I had to purchase a few spare duffle bags to transport my perishables onto the aircraft.

One of those perishables is butter. Two duffle bags full of butter.


As butter will be a full 1/3 of my diet, 2000 calories per day (3 sticks), it’s important to ensure that part if my ration is well taken care of. If the butter were in with the general population, it would be mashed to being unusable and rotten.
That’d be a disaster for me prior to even hopping on the plane.

All 5 of my gear bags plus the 2 duffles if butter weighed in at 152kg / 334lbs. Not nearly as bad as I expected, though that weight makes me feel like I’m missing something.

I’ll receive my 6 cans of fuel and 6 liters of water in Antarctica. Another 55 lbs.

For the first 10 days, I’ll be struggling mightily, as not everything will likely fit in my sled bags. The trick will be to avoid looking like a Turkish bazaar.

A mountain of gear. In there I have 5 bags with pink duct tape.



Breakfast is complete. 12 boxes/pounds of cereal, 3 pounds of sugar, eight containers/6 pounds of powdered milk, and a roll and a half of Glad Press n Seal.

That is just the dry portion of breakfast. For each breakfast, I will eat 2 sticks of butter. Between the dry material, 400 cal, and the butter, 800 cal, I will be plowing down some serious breakfast.

I’ll eat one of these, 2 sticks of butter, for breakfast, a half block for lunch, and another whole block for dinner. 1.1 pounds of butter a day.

And the cereal usually leaves me hungry after two and half hours. The point of this breakfast is that I can eat it cold and eat it fast. I do not have to heat up water or anything for the morning.

Also, I found that the Cascadian Farms organic cereal has many more calories per ounce than oatmeal or anything else. It is a much better deal. Plus, the Sugar in the Raw, cane sugar, really powers me up in the morning.

Packing the food

I am working on my final food preparations prior to shipment via air down to Chile. I am trying to figure out how to pack 90 days of food into the sled so I still have some room for something.


90 bags is sure going to be a lot of space. Having everything pulverized & mashed into smaller space would definitely be better.
Also, I am trying to figure out why my bag of simulated food weighs way more than my food weight estimate. Either the packaging lies on some items or I miscalculated. I will figure this out quite immediately.

Cold ramen test

One thing I have done on previous expeditions is carry a lot of Ramen. Every day I would just eat the package of Ramen raw. Sometimes I would put the powder on top to give it a little bit of salt. Though, the MSG gets a bit much after a while.


So now for the Antarctic trip, I am testing cold Ramen in cold water. I’m testing to see how long it takes to reconstitute today. That way, when I am in Antarctica, I can have water, carbs, and cover a meal.

Eating raw Ramen is simple, though I’m not exactly sure how long it takes for the energy to hit me. I felt that in Yellowstone, it took quite a while before it kicked in.

Since the ramen is now wet, hopefully it will hit my system faster, that way I do not have any energy downtime.

First big tow

Four Hours.

Tow time
Tow time

That was my longest tow to date and it felt longer than that. I had to make up for the 65 minutes I missed the previous day and I’m on the hook for 153 minutes at least every other day on top of that. So, I scolded myself and got to work.

Starting at 930am seemed like a good idea at the time.  But Jackson, WY, is not immune to the sweltering heat the rest of the country is [not] enjoying.  By the time 11am rolled around, I knew I was in for a tough one.  I had already chugged down 0.5L of water and I wasn’t even half finished.

Not bringing more food was also a big regret.  I now know that 1.5-2 hours is the maximum that a granola bar and a rail of Shot Blocks will last me.  By that time, I was fantasizing about macaroni and cheese, sandwiches and almost anything else to take the hunger away.  I even could feel the soft texture of that morning’s waffles in my hands.

3 shot blocks left.  Ugh.

The plan was to eek them out as long as I could.  There are two schools of thought.  One is to extend the rations as long as possible.  The other is to placate the hunger right there and then deal with deal with real hunger later.  I took the former approach.  It’s much easier knowing I have something remaining in my pocket rather than looking forward to nothing.

It was an interesting experiment in both food and hydration management.

Good thing there’s a gas station at the top of the hill where I was at least able to refill my now depleted water bottles for the last mile and a half.  Good thing, as I powered down the refill water with still 0.3 miles remaining.  The heat had taken its toll and I was paying.  By the last several hundred yards, I was really working to move that tire.

It was tempting to drag over to the edge of the road where the gravel was, reducing the pulling force necessary to move my test load.  I kept telling myself to resist.  Not putting in an honest workout here means Antarctica will be that much more difficult.

“You’re only cheating yourself.”

I didn’t but it sure was tempting.

Lessons learned:

  • Bring a PB&J equivalent per 2 hours of towing
  • I need 1L per 2 hours of hot weather towing

A bicyclist also told me, “After you drag that thing around, you’ll be one bad a** mother $@#%@#.”

I got a good laugh out of it, as I hadn’t thought of this that way.

Getting chunk

So now I’m going to try this approach over the weekend and during the week.

Whenever I am wandering around or doing something, I have to have food in my hand. As long as I am not working out, I need to be attached to food. Perhaps this will help?

It’s something I’m going to try to gain a little weight. Perhaps the power of suggestion will help me get chunked.