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On Getting Naked in Antarctica

clothes free ritual in Antarctica to pass the time

On Getting Naked in Antarctica

The exact origins of the 300 Club are unknown, but the tradition dates back to at least the winter of 1959, when Howard Redifer, who was working at the South Pole Station as a meteorologist, started the “200 Club.” The winter-overs that year had built a makeshift sauna inside a large empty packing crate. Inside the crate, atop a small stool, sat a hot plate and a steam kettle with a thermometer poking out of it. “Rules said you couldn’t stay in there for more than 10 minutes when the temp inside the box reached 120 degrees,” according to an old email exchange between Sid Tolchin, who was on site as a Naval medical officer, and Bill Spindler, who wintered at the South Pole in 1977 and now keeps track of the station’s history on his website SouthPoleStation.com. “Not great, but a fair substitute for the rare weekly quick’nhot shower,” wrote Tolchin.

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