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Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 15:30:00 -0800
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Libby & Len Traubman <LTraubman@igc.org>
Subject: Palestinians, Israelis "Breaking The Ice" -- roped together --
The four Israelis and four
Palestinians -- four men, two women -- of the historic expedition
"Breaking The Ice" are edging toward "their mountain. . .their
summit" in Antarctica.
Once on it peak, assuming their safety and endurance, they will name it.
You get to vote on the mountains name, too, at:
Photos are at http://www.breaking-the-ice.de/t_gallery.htm .
News from them is less frequent now.
Below is Monday's abbreviated Daily Log, with the full version at http://www.breaking-the-ice.de/WebLog/b2/ .
If you've missed earlier shortened excerpts from the Daily log, you may request them by title, listed at the bottom of:
BREAKING THE ICE -- Daily Log -- Monday, 12 January 2004
Monday, 12 January 2004
Roped together, up the glacier (Prospect Point, Antarctica (66° S, 65° W)
They awakened this morning. . .the Israeli-Palestinian peace expedition to Antarctica. . .ready to take the first steps in the multi-day trek. . .to an unclimbed mountain. . .but nature had plotted overnight to delay their departure, locking their yacht, Pelagic Australis, among icebergs and sea ice.
It took several hours of organization and some deft rigging by the boat's captain Skip Novak before it was possible to begin transporting people and equipment to shore.. . .several hours would pass until everything was ready for departure.
Finally. . .prepared to set off onto the glacier, wearing snowshoes, carrying backpacks and pulling heavy equipment behind them on plastic sleds. Expedition leader Doron Erel gave the order to rope the eight trekkers together. . .two groups of four. . .will remain that way whenever in motion during the days ahead -- a safety measure against numerous deep crevasses hidden by a thick covering of snow. If any member of the team falls into one it will be up to all the others to stop the fall and pull him or her back out again. Without ropes -- and teamwork -- the dangers multiply.
The night before their departure. . .expedition members argued vocally about the name they would give to the unclimbed peak that is their final destination -- a name meant to symbolize their desire for peace. As usual, Avihu Shoshani, the Israeli attorney and Nasser Quass, the Palestinian political activist, were in the thick of the debate, disagreeing over every nuance of every name suggested by the others. It fell to Breaking the Ice initiator, Israeli businessman Hezkel Nathaniel and Ziad Darwish, the Palestinian journalist, to restore calm. Though the tempers finally cooled, the meeting ended without a decision.
The extraordinary thing about this extraordinary peace mission. . .the very next day, Shoshani and Quass were roped together in the same trekking group, helping one another to shoulder their load up the glacier. Time and again, the team members have demonstrated their ability to work together on a pesonal level despite their political differences.
Their luck. . .outstanding Antarctic summer weather. . .most of the trekkers today wore no more than thermal underwear, saving their warmer fleece and down garments for the colder temperatures of the evening. . .warned to apply thick layers of sunscreen and to use dark sunglasses -- protection against sunlight reflected off the snow.
This time of year it never gets dark in Antarctica. . .sun hovers just beyond the horizon. . .skies remain illuminated throughout the night. So, as the team members established their first base camp, setting up tents. . .unrolling sleeping bags. . .able to enjoy a breathtaking view -- on one side the sea, littered with patches of ice and framed by snow covered mountains in the distance. . .on the other side, much closer than it had been the day before, an unclimbed mountain -- their mountain. . .dark brown slopes are edged in pure white snow, extending up to its summit -- their summit. If the weather remains good, they'll reach it within another two or three days.
The team settled into camp. . .gas stoves began hissing, turning out tea, then soup, then pasta -- a fine evening's repast in the middle of a frozen meadow. Cameraman Colin Rosin taught everyone some of the basic moves of Tai Chi. Everyone had another cup of tea. . .then the expedition's two female members, Israeli Arab Olfat Haider and Yarden Fanta, the immigrant Jew from Ethiopia, crawled into their tent for a good night's sleep on the ice -- followed by all the others -- ready for another day of climbing tomorrow as Breaking the Ice moves, step by step, towards its objective