By Doug Chartier
LAW WEEK COLORADO
In the midst of an Antarctic blizzard, and with likely no other living thing for hundreds of miles in any direction, a 49-year-old attorney from Steamboat Springs was hacksawing away at a piece of aluminum. Clad in his cobalt anorak and ski goggles covering his face, he crouched behind his sled so it could shield him at least a little from the tempest. His yellow North Face tent lay in the snow partially dismantled, and he sat on it as he worked, hoping his only shelter wouldn’t blow away in the squall.
While setting up camp at the end of a daylong ski, Doug Tumminello had tried to pitch his tent in gale-force winds when three of the five tent poles snapped. He only had one pole repair sleeve. He was now improvising additional sleeves by splitting open extra tent pole sections to wrap around the break points of the other poles, and he would duct tape the sections into place. The fix took an hour.
That night he would recount the tent problem on his expedition blog, but say that only two of the poles had broken. He didn’t want the blog readers to be too worried about him, he told Law Week.
It was day four of Tumminello’s solo trek across the Antarctic to the South Pole. He had more than 700 nautical miles to go, which would take about 36 more days of skiing to reach the Pole if the conditions were ideal. And they weren’t.