Take the OAE Test!

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    Okay, you’ve done it all. Or have you? How do you know if you’re a real OAE (Old Antarctic Explorer)?


    Count your “Yes” answers to the following questions. This is primarily for USAP participants… And no, I haven’t done all of them, and I’m not necessarily advocating all these things, it’s only for your personal amusement. 8)

    1. Going to Antarctica the first time was scary.

    2. Some years later, going home was scary.

    3. You have the Antarctic Service Medal.

    4. You have the Antarctic Service Medal and a winter-over bar.

    5. No matter what you do, all you get anymore is a lapel pin.

    6. You’ve done a summer.

    7. You’ve done a winter.

    8. You’ve done a full year.

    9. You know what the 500 club is, and you’re a member.

    10. At some point you’ve lost track of your Ice time.

    11. You’ve done the polar plunge.

    12. You’ve done the polar plunge naked.

    13. You’ve done the 300 club.

    14. You’ve done the 300 club and circled the pole marker, naked.

    15. You’ve climbed Ob Hill.

    16. You’ve climbed Castle Rock.

    17. You’ve climbed Erebus.

    18. You’ve driven a sprite.

    19. You’ve stolen a sprite.

    20. You’ve camped on an Ice shelf.

    21. You’ve camped in a historic hut.

    22. You don’t camp on the Ice anymore because you know better.

    23. You’ve flown in a helicopter or small plane in Antarctica.

    24. You’ve flown in a helicopter or small plane in Antarctica… without permission.

    25. You’ve flown a paraglider on the Ice.

    26. You’ve spent a week or more waiting for the weather to clear before flying.

    27. You’ve seen penguins.

    28. You’ve handled penguins.

    29. You’ve been on a ship breaking ice.

    30. You’ve been stuck in the ice on a ship.

    31. You were there during the Navy days.

    32. Heck, the first time there you were *in* the Navy.

    33. You’ve set foot on the continent.

    34. You’ve scuba’d or snorkled in the Antarctic ocean.

    35. You’ve been bitten by some Antarctic animal or bird.

    36. You’ve been attacked by a skua.

    37. You’ve been attacked by a seal.

    38. You’ve been attacked by a co-worker.

    39. You’ve seen auroras.

    40. You’ve seen nacreous clouds.

    41. You’ve seen a UFO or something weird. (Seriously.)

    42. You’ve rappeled into a crevasse.

    43. You’ve played music at IceStock.

    44. You’ve been in the Ob Tube.

    45. You’ve been in an ice cave.

    46. You’ve been in a fumerole.

    47. You’ve played radio darts.

    48. You’ve cross-dressed for a party.

    49. You’ve shaved all your hair off.

    50. You’ve visited a half-dozen or more stations or field camps.

    …Additional questions added 9/13:

    51. You’ve been to the South Pole.

    52. You’ve been to the old South Pole station.

    53. You *worked* at old South Pole station.

    54. You’ve been to the dry valleys.

    55. You’ve been to Cape Crozier.

    56. You appear in a newspaper article, book, news report, movie, or television progam about Antarctica.

    57. You’ve visited at least two crashed airplane or helicopter sites.

    58. You worry (or hope) that when you arrive on the Ice or go to the Denver office you may bump into an old Ice-marriage friend.

    59. You’ve slept in Hut 10.

    60. You’ve either fallen for one of the scam posts (i.e., “Sign up for LDB Balloon Rides”) on the bulletin board in 155… or you’ve put one up there yourself.

    61. You know what the 6-Pack was.

    62. You’ve spent an entire morning unplugging a clogged toilet or sewer pipe (on the Ice).

    63. You’ve dressed in a Kiwi parka or similar clothing to avoid drawing attention to your activities.

    64. You’ve found someone passed-out in the snow. Or someone has found you that way.

    65. You’ve seen open water in front of McMurdo.

    66. You’ve seen whales in front of McMurdo.

    67. You’ve watched a ship hit rocks or ground itself.

    68. You’ve participated in an air drop.

    69. You’ve participated in a medevac.

    70. Somewhere, at some station or field camp, is a box with your name on it, with stuff in case you ever return.

    … BT’s additions:

    71. You’ve been the Byrd Station when it was not a surface camp.

    72. You’ve been to Siple Station and it was not a summer camp.

    73. You’ve been to the first Siple Station and the second one too.

    74. You visited “Old Palmer”.

    75. You spent the night at “Old Palmer”.

    76. You know what PM3A was.

    77. You know what VXE-6 was called before it was VXE-6.

    78. You sailed south on the HERO.

    79. You know what a 119 is.

    80. You know what happened if your walked into the club with your hat on.

    81. You went south on Winfly when it was really Winfly and not “Springfly”.

    82. You flew to McMurdo in Pegasus, not landing at Pegasus.

    83. You know who Carl D was.

    What’s your score? Please feel free to add your own questions too!



    I made a score of 27 after 14 seasons, a few of them more interesting than others. How about adding having gone into Old Pole Station?

    Been There

    Got 35 out of 50. Since I answered yes to question ten I don’t keep track of time on the ice anymore. I don’t want to know.

    Additional questions:

    You’ve been the Byrd Station when it was not a surface camp.

    You’ve been to Siple Station and it was not a summer camp

    You’ve been to the first Siple Station and the second one too.

    You visited “Old Palmer”

    You spent the night at “Old Palmer”

    You know what PM3A was

    You know what VXE-6 was called before it was VXE-6

    You sailed south on the HERO

    You know what a 119 is

    You know what happened if your walked into the club with your hat on

    You went south on Winfly when it was really Winfly and not “Springfly”

    You flew to McMurdo in Pegasus, not landing at Pegasus

    You know who Carl D was

    Add these to the list and my score goes up to 47

    Been There

    Been There

    Damn I missed some of the test. Got 53 out of the orginal 70 questions.
    Add my 13 additional items and I get 66 on the “test”.

    Been Were


    Awesome! I’ll just edit my original post and add new questions.

    My score: 57 of the first 70, or 59 of all 83.

    Been There


    We will have to compare notes. Looks like you might have done a few things that I have not able to do.

    Been There


    Pretty silly. A lot of the questions have no relevance to someone who wintered over in the late 50’s.

    Also, I’m pretty sure that Scott, Shackleton and Priestley would flunk this test.


    Whew. Guess I missed a few things, well, I haven’t exactly spend much time in MacTown, and Richie must have held out on sharing all of his secrets of the ice with me 🙂

    But I can count a few of the rare ones. Got 35 on the first 70, 43 on the lot. And it was fun thinking about and remembering each and every one. Thanks g!


    Yeah, we could definitely use some more early ODF and South Pole Station questions, maybe rounding it out to an even 100. (Hint to mirage and bill)

    If I imagine I’m one of Scott’s crew I can answer 34 of the first 50 as a probable “yes”, even though this is for contemporary OAEs. I don’t think any of us could answer some of the questions they would ask…

    You’ve eaten pengiun

    You’ve eaten dog

    You’ve burnt blubber for warmth

    You’ve lost at least two toes to frostbite

    Your teeth have split from the cold

    Yeeeecch! :mrgreen:


    OK, I’m still pretty new to the program. I got 23 on the whole lot (23 on the first 70, and 0 on 71-83)…. Maybe a few more years and my score will go up.


    Okay, this is fun, I’m up to the challenge, here are a few more questions, since these are tilted towards my ice time I obviously have 100% of this list :). Now we need mirage and Zondra to add some of their own, and Glenn to perhaps edit and sort the list into an even 100.

    You’ve been inside PM3A.

    You became a qualified D-1 operator.

    You’ve had a drink in the Last Chance Saloon.

    You’ve had a drink in Club 90 at Old Pole.

    You’ve had a drink in Club 90 under the dome.

    You’ve been to Destination Zulu.

    You’ve had a drink at all 4 clubs at McMurdo (the EM club, Acey-Deucey, Chief’s Club and O’Club, that is).

    You had to relight the Preway in your hut.

    You’ve helped launch a science or weather balloon.

    You got all of your news from the McMurdo Sometimes.

    You’ve been in the utilidor at Pole.

    You’ve seen the Antarctic Cod in the ice tunnels at Pole.

    You’ve partaken of crosstown pizza.

    You know what evil would befall you if you didn’t take your mukluks off before going inside the module at Siple.

    You’ve shoveled snow into a snow melter (with a shovel).

    You’ve seen the green flash at sunset.

    One of your Palmer house mouse assignments was burning trash on the helo pad.

    You’ve prayed inside the original Chapel of the Snows.

    You’ve eaten on the E side.


    32 on the original post more on subsequent.
    Add have you slept in a snow shelter.


    Hell, I only got 50 out of 83 – and that depends on a few things.

    Anyone over 50s been around! But it is MCM centric.

    It was fun anyway.

    For extra points, whose name is in the original club 90 south “I was here”, but has never been there.

    Ever seen FYM written on anything in your travels in Antarctica? Most likely an Oz base. One hint – the M was the station leader Casey 96 – the mutiny year. I think at one point everything – including the underside of a apple hut (which was slung loaded to Ardery Is) had it written on it. It fun to watch that apple lifted and a huge FYM under it:)



    > Now we need mirage and Zondra to add some of their own

    Here’s one: You have too much time on your hands.


    I got 33! One question is iffy though. I have been at the old Byrd Station, but it wasn’t open at the time. It was in summer 94-95. We used a bulldozer and uncovered one of the ladders and then ventured down inside the old camp (long since buried). We had to dig a vertical tunnel down to the top of the old access ladder and dig our way down through the access tube.

    It was a pretty wild experience! Sleeping bags still on beds, cards from home still on the bulliten boards, and pans still on the stove in the galley. There was a wharehouse section that still have new small engines, parts to everything on station, nuts and bolts, etc. It looked like people left in a hurry, and the whole thing was then buried. We skuaed a bunch of stuff for the Surface camp (mixing bowls, stools, a case of urinal cakes) after spending the day exploring. I still have a galley tray and some other artifacts from that day. Tore the heck out of my parka coming back up the ladder.

    It was a heck ov a day, and I’m sure that if the USAP folks would have found out, I would have been on a plane heading north. When we returned to the Surface Camp later that evening, we were all wondering if something crazy happened that caused everyone to leave with short notice and no one ever went back.

    Then we broke out the beer and watched The Thing! Not really, but that would ahve been pretty creepy!


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