The U of C campus in winter

January 10, 2022 • 2:59 pm

On my walk home today, it was sunny but cold (15°F, -9.4°C), with snow blanketing the quad, so I thought I’d take a panorama with my new iPhone. It was moderately successful (upper right is a mess), but at least you can see my academic environs in winter.

Click the picture twice to make it really big.

This is the main part of the campus, the “quad” looking toward the administration building from the East.

I have pretty much recovered from the Dreaded Black Ice Journey, except for some residual soreness EVERYWHERE.

19 thoughts on “The U of C campus in winter

  1. Lovely. It’s such beautiful campus, though I never got to the main campus much, since my (now) ex was in the Law School, but it was all amazing. Though BITTERLY cold in the winter time…and I grew up in Michigan, so it’s not like cold was new to me. Worth it, though. I’m glad you’re recovered-ish, but please keep being very careful. Maybe wear cleats?

    1. My thought exactly.

      I have a pair of crampons that just slip over my shoes or boots. The gripping part of the sole is not spikes, but coiled steel, so no sharp points. Huge increase in stability.


      1. Yes, that sort of ‘gripper’ has been essential for me. I go up on my not-too-steep roof (either 20 degrees or something like 1-in-4) to get snow off solar panels. You never know–there might be a bit of freezing rain on that, not having been noticed on the ground.
        [Reminded me of my 7-year old daughter, now philosophy prof, who used to take great delight in the semi-self-contradictory sentence : “You never know, you know!”]
        They are useful on the ground as well. One time I slipped badly off an ice covered fat branch just above the ground and ended up with a separated shoulder.

  2. Sorry to hear about the soreness, but happy that you’re largely recovered. Also glad selfishly that I’ve never had to live anywhere requiring me to deal with all that ice and snow so regularly. It’s beautiful, but I’m happy to appreciate its beauty just in photos.

    1. I wasn’t offered a choice–I wanted the small 11 but all they had in back was one blue iphone 13. So that’s what I got (I saw that the guy was telling the truth). It still fits in my pocket, and I got a 50% discount because I’m old, so it was okay.

      1. I suspect the light pollution is high over there, but the 13 is good at automatically taking pictures of stars/night sky/low light – video not so well.

    1. The term “black ice” is (or at least was) very British I think. Certainly in Canada it’s always the more awkward term “freezing rain”. Is it that in U.S.?

      On a more sombre note, my Ph.D. supervisor, about 35 years later than then, slid on black ice just north of Cambridge, England, crashed his car into a tree, and lost his life at the much too young age of 59.

      Another, less unfortunate incident more directly inside my life, was doing something called the Canadian Ski Marathon between Lachute and Montebello near the Ottawa River, ‘doing the silver’ carrying a small backpack. I was just barely fast enough to have gotten through onto the 3rd section when many others, including both my mates from Waterloo, got cut off from going onto that section because freezing rain had made it slightly dangerous. But it was rocket-fast, so it turned out to be the easiest 1st day of the two of that I ever did.
      We started at 6AM with an hour’s darkness to get 4 out of 5 sections done by 3PM (to avoid being not allowed to finish). I remember the speediest of those starting at 8AM had already just caught up to me. (They had let the sort-of-racing teams through at Section 3 since those people were genuine contenders to get on the National team in some cases, or retirees from it, so could cope easily enough with this ‘danger’.) So to pass he had to switch tracks, and took an unpleasant tumble on the ice, for which I felt slightly guilty, though no fault of mine really.

      It’s amazing to see the ease with which e.g. Klaebo of Norway can cope at extraordinary speed with jumping in and out of set tracks in the big World Cup races these days. He’d probably been put on a ski track with tiny equipment almost before he could walk as a 15 month old baby! I’ve seen such over there.

  3. Here’s the black ice story, which I posted on Facebook

    but not here:

    My day
    by Jerry Coyne

    OY! I walked to work about 5 a.m. when it was dark, and didn’t realize that it had rained or sleeted or whatever it was that made the sidewalks and streets and even the off-sidewalk bits deadly slippery.
    Ten steps out the door and my feet flew forward from under me and I landed flat on my back and head on the sidewalk. At first I thought I hurt myself pretty badly, but after a minute the pain decreased so I decided I was okay and heaved myself up.

    Now cognizant of the dangers, I tried to avoid the sleek patches, which were almost everywhere, and could not be avoided when crossing streets. By the time I got to work I had fallen (forward, much less scary) two more times and slipped many times.

    I was exhausted when I got to work, but there was shopping to be done. So, at 8 a.m., I walked from my office to the Ellis Ave garage to get my car, falling once more along the way. Driving was okay so long as I stuck to 55th St. and Cottage Grove. I slipped in the parking lot at Jewel/Osco but didn’t fall.

    Since I didn’t want to risk a slippery walk with three bags of groceries and a gallon of milk from the garage to my office (several blocks), I parked in front of Regenstein–the library across from my building. A short distance from there to the Zoology Building, right? But I slipped on the sidewalk and fell forward with my groceries, landing on the plastic gallon of milk, which promptly split open and spewed milk all over my coat. Now I was freezing, battered, and covered with rapidly freezing milk.

    After I cleaned up and warmed up, I worked, and by the time I walked home most of the glaze had disappeared.. HOWEVER, now every joint in my body is aching and I am sore everywhere. I feel like a gang of ruffians has worked me over with truncheons.

    And that was my day.

    I hope yours was better. If you have no ice, you’re already ahead.

  4. Beautiful campus but man, that weather. I don’t know how you can live in it professor. I live in NYC and this *will* be my last winter here (after 25 of them). I will be spending half the year in better climes and these days (thx to tech) one can easily spend those months in Costa Rica or The Bahamas, Morocco etc. and rent out one’s home back in (more expensive) Ice-n-snow Manhattan.
    I can even take my d*g who also hates the cold. 🙂
    And I can practice law, write my articles and read WEIT daily from anywhere. 🙂

    1. To each his own (or her own)!

      A few times past I’d joke my wife by saying we surely must retire to Tuktoyaktuk so that climate change won’t wreck my skiing!

      Actually, Amundsen, during the 3rd winter of his team’s epic conquering of the Northwest Passage, skiied 1600 km. from somewhere near there down to Eagle, Alaska (and back to the ice-stuck ship) to telegraph that they had made it—still having the ‘easy’ job next summer to get through the Bering Strait, north to south of course.

      Anybody starts talking about snow and ice and it’s hard to get me to shut up! Sorry.

  5. Topped out at 40.2C (104.4F) here in Adelaide, South Australia today. The next couple of days to be similar, before a ‘cool change’, 27-28C Fri-Sun… it’s a good thing that solar panel uptake here leads the world because everyone has their air cons on!…

    1. Yes, pretty terrible here, after a fairly mild December and January. I’m waiting for the cool change, even though it will be fairly minimal! We do have our air conditioner on!

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