Early on the second day of the polar survival course, 20 students clambered out from tents and snow shelters and warmed up with a hot drink. After breaking camp, we compared notes on how cold we got or how we managed to stay warm (most campers were warm). We learned more new skills, like how to use a high-frequency radio to call long distances across Antarctica’s unpopulated expanses. For practice, we spoke to the South Pole research station, nearly 900 miles (1,450 kilometers) away (listen in on the call). It was a lot colder there.
Next, instructors Karen Hilton and Danny Uhlmann put us to the test with two unexpected survival scenarios: a crew stranded in the face of an oncoming storm, and a team searching for a lost companion in a blizzard. Both scenarios were made extremely realistic thanks to some unusual props.