About one century ago, Sir Ernest Shackleton explored the antarctic continent. Clothed in reindeer fur, wearing boots insulated with grass, and with the help of sled dogs and Mongolian ponies, he and his team were the first to reach the magnetic south pole. They were the first to climb Mount Erebus (Antartica’s highest peak). And although he fell short of being the first to reach the South Pole, he voyaged further south than anyone before him had gone.

He then wrote about his adventures. It is compelling reading.

“Degrees of frost” is a phrase he used to describe temperature in Antarctica. It is a poetic way of saying “below freezing” degrees (in Fahrenheit scale, of course. Shackleton was an Englishman).

I took a walk with my daughter earlier this month when it was -22F (-30C). That’s 54 degrees of frost, according to Shackleton. Here’s what that looked like.

54 degrees of frost
54 degrees of frost in central Colorado

54 degrees of frost is as far below freezing as 86 degrees Fahrenheit is above freezing.

That was the coldest temperature we had ever experienced. But those temperatures (and worse) were commonplace for Shackleton and his team in the days of their explorations. You’ve got to admire the tenacity and hard purposefulness of those frosty men.