We spent the rest of the day learning how to survive in emergency situations, how to cook on a camp stove, and how to set up a Scott tent (see above). By far the coolest part of the day was building our quinzee (snow hut or cave) and ice block walls. A quinzee is basically an igloo but not made out of ice blocks- the living space is just carved out from a big pile of snow. As a group of 20, we spent about an hour piling snow and more than that for carving it out and making the entrance. I can’t imagine trying to build one by yourself! We also made a wind wall out of blocks cut out of the snow using saws. I spent the night in one of the quinzees...here's what I slept in/on: long underwear tops and bottoms, fleece pants, 2 pairs of socks, another midweight and heavy fleece, 2 neck gaitors and a hat, glove liners, a fleece sleeping bag liner, a -30 degree rated sleeping bag, 2 ensolite pads to insulate against the ground, and big red over my legs to top it all off (you can't really move a whole lot after that). I had one oval shaped window to the outside world over my mouth and nose. I actually slept pretty well, aside from the fact that my sleeping bag was a bit big and had some air pockets. That night definitely felt like a REAL Antarctic experience.
Our quinzee hut! We added the arch out of ice blocks as a fun technical challenge. Notice the fact that the entrance is below the ground surface- this is because you want the hot air you produce inside to stay inside! The lowered entrance serves as a cold air sink.