Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fast Times at SP

We've had a lot going on down here as of late.

Last weekend I got to drive one of these Pisten Bully vehicles to take overnight campers out to their campsite.

A couple nights ago we had a C-17 airdrop cargo into SP. It's much too heavy to land on our runway, but they can still open up the old cargo doors and let fly from 1,500 feet:

Yesterday I finally got to head out on snowmobiles with three other folks to do our snow accumulation monitoring run along a 20-kilometer line of stakes away from the station. It was overcast the whole time, so the light was very flat and there was little definition visible to the terrain even right in front of you. This made for a really rough ride, because you never could really see what the terrain was doing. We made it about half-way back along the line, measuring the snow stakes, but the visibility really shut down to less than 500 meters, which was the spacing of the stakes, so when we radioed back in to the station they ordered us to stop measuring and return directly home. It was a bit hairy at times, trying to pick out the stakes from the soft-white glow that became our surreal world for those 10 kilometers, but we eventually could discern a shadow on the horizon that eventually resolved itself into the South Pole Station. All in all, it wasn't a whole lot of fun, but it definitely was a reminder of how many ways this environment can make you dead or dying very quickly.

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