It’s not a men’s club anymore: Antarctica

Playing on the ice

Antarctica is one of the toughest environments in the world. Allie Barden, better known as Sandwichgirl, has been working – and blogging – on the ice since 2003, when she got a job at the American McMurdo base. In the first of a series of interviews with adventurous, inspiring women, Sandwich speaks about visiting the geographic South Pole, penguins and the challenges of working in subzero temperatures

Q. What is behind your handle, sandwichgirl?

I bought a sandwich-shaped lunchbox at a yard sale for 50 cents back in 1995. I have never gone anywhere without it ever since. I have it tattooed on my left leg.

Q. How long have you been working in the Antarctic?

I started as a dishwasher at McMurdo Station in 2003. I have been coming every (austral) summer season since.

Q. Could you explain what your job involves? What did you do today, for example?

I work in a department called supply/materials. I inventory and manage materials in warehouses that are needed by the scientists and support staff. At this time we are nearing the end of the summer season, and preparing for winter. Today I checked all of the barrels of fluid and compressed gasses that are used by our maintenance crew, making sure we have enough and that they are in order and accessible for winter.

Q. Why did you make the decision to work in Antarctica?

I heard there was a bowling alley. No really, I am an adventure-seeker at heart, always looking for extreme challenge and wanting to earn my keep for it. The work is exhausting, the science is exciting, and the community is small and tight. It’s amazing to see how it all comes together. Did I mention the bowling alley? It’s pretty cool.

Read the full interview here