There are three significant summer camps this year, supporting numerous deep field camps one step removed from McMurdo: the Western Antarctic Ice Shelf (WAIS camp, pronounced "waise", like waiste without the "t"); and the Central Trans Antarctic Mountains (CTAM camp, pronounced, "cee-tam"); and Byrd camp, which existed from 1957-1972 as a permanently manned station, then became a summer camp until 2004/2005, and rebuilt this year.
But we're in a class of our own, a true deep field event. Something like this hasn't happened in decades, and it has thrown the logistical staff here at McMurdo a bit. That, and some new rules and regs implemented recently (and discovered when we landed), have delayed our departure by a few days, but hasn't slowed the pace we've been working at to be ready - all of our equipment has to be packed and manifested for flights by the close of business on Wednesday. So in a very organized-chaos approach, we juggle meetings, briefings, equipment issues, packing, and training. Today's planned snowmobile practice had to be canceled because of high winds and blowing snow that eliminated the visibility outside of the station, so I spent the afternoon organizing our equipment locker (called a "cage"), pulling the sleep kits out for packing, and organizing all the climbing equipment so we could pack that up for the flights as well.
|Greg writes lots of lists, and checks them more than Santa Claus.|
|The view of Ob Hill from the Galley. Navy terminology is a|
tradition from an earlier era, but no one is trying to change it!
|Seth and Clair heading to another briefing at the Chalet, where|
the senior representatives of the National Science Foundation
and Raytheon Polar Services Corporation are officed.
|Kat and Greg crossing Beaker Junction, another open lot|
amongst the work buildings.
|Claire is excited to spend a night out at the Survival |
|A Field Training instructor, Jen, talks about optimal snow|
anchors for the Scott Tent we just stood up. Our team will
be sleeping in three of these while in the field.
|We also set up a number of mountaineering tents behind|
a stout snow wall to break the wind.
|Later that evening, the weather deteriorated. High winds and |
blowing snow encouraged all of us to go to bed early.
|In the morning, we reviewed the night's success. All fingers,|
toes, and souls present and accounted for.
|A group dynamics lesson in the form of a search in simulated|
blizzard conditions. Alas, Bryan was never found.
|Then on Friday we spent the morning learning how to drive|
and maintain snowmobiles. Four of these will be coming with us.