Antarctica in Pictures, Part 7: Traveling through the Williams Hills

Our camp in the Williams Hills gave us an incredible view of the Schmidt Hills.

And the bergschrund is...here.  A gap often forms where the glaciating ice pulls away from the rock (called a bergschrund), and several times I fixed lines to negotiate this hazard.  This feature was immediately west of camp, so it was titled Camp Rock.

We traversed the length of Camp Rock, collecting a few samples and getting a good visual of the immediate surroundings around camp.

While we waited to move camp from the Schmidt to the Williams Hills, Greg learned of a family emergency and requested to be pulled-out if possible.  January 3rd was the first possible day, and we were able to take advantage of a South Pole plane supporting a team about 250 miles to the south of us.

Twin Otter aircraft are used for short- and medium-range aircraft support.  This unscheduled flight was really just the tip of the iceberg.  Greg was able to arrive at the South Pole, wait 3 hours to board a scheduled C-130 flight to McMurdo Station, wait another 3 hours to board a C-17 flight to Christchurch, and found himself in New Zealand just 18 hours after leaving us.

We went back to work as soon as Greg left.  Kat, Seth and I checked out the two nunataks to the southwest of camp, and they chose the second nunatak to establish our GPS Base Station.

Seth, Claire and I drove a circumnavigation track around the Williams Hills to establish a flagged route while Kat and Mike drove back to Neptune for some additional supplies.

Completely supplied, with the GPS base station established, and the flagged route set out; now we can get to work.  Kat and Seth worked to establish two more ablation stake transects, both running from Camp Rock towards the Foundation Ice Stream.

Each ablation stake hole was carefully measured using this survey-quality GPS.

Seth did extensive radar transects of the glaciers draining out of the Williams Hills.  His radar work was impressive - apparently we set records for depth and detail measurements with this equipment.

Claire and Mike really charged on the rock sampling.  Horn Peak is visible in the background.

From Last Nunatak, the feature visible behind and left, we saw this small rock feature 10km to the south.  This small rock feature stands only 1.5 meters above the glacier, and was covered with erratic rocks.

Claire was really excited when we set foot on this tiniest of nuataks, which I called Itsy Bitsy Rock at the World's End.  The rock isn't visible on the 1967 USGS maps of the area.

On the summit of Horn Peak. | photo Claire Todd

World's End.

On our last day in the Williams Hills, the entire team climbed up Mt Hobbs, the highest point in the Williams Hills.

Myself, Seth and Mike on the summit carn of Mt Hobbs. | photo Claire Todd

Before packing up Williams Hills Camp and moving to Camp Neptune, Claire, Mike and I reached the summit of Pillow Knob, where we found a fluorescent orange survey panel and USGS Survey marker.

The rock on Pillow Knob was a rotten form of basalt - this marker had been hammered into a drilled hole, but the rock around it had completely shattered to such a degree that we couldn't find the original hole.

Our ten days at the Williams Hills was finished, and it was time for us to make our last camp move to Neptune for our last week of work.