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Preparing for Ice Camp


Slawek and I have now been in McMurdo for just over 48 hours. Because of our weather-caused delay, we’re now quite busy making all the necessary preparations for our field work. Tomorrow Rickard and Doug, the other two members of our field team, will arrive from Christchurch. In the meantime, we’ve gone to collect the camping gear that has been set aside for us, met with the communications office to discuss our communication plans while in the field, selected all the dry food for our 4 weeks of camping on the ice, and scheduled a hopeful date for our first flight to Siple Dome, the field camp from which we’ll fly to our remote research site. In the short time we’ve been here, Slawek has also already given a talk for the McMurdo community (both scientists and non-scientists) about the type of work we do, and what the focus of our field work will be. The talk, titled “The Ebb and Flow of Ice Sheets,” discussed the role of ice sheets in our planet’s future, the factors that control ice sheet velocity, and the goals of our field work studying subglacial lakes on Whillans Ice Stream. I’ll post a link to the 45-minute talk as soon as it’s available.

Happy Camper School

Tomorrow I’ll begin my 1.5 day with Snow Craft training, also known around here as “Happy Camper School.” During this course, we’ll be taught the essentials of living and surviving in the outdoors in Antarctica, complete with a night of camping on the ice, cooking our dinner outside, and other Antarctic survival essentials. All personnel at McMurdo who leave the station at any time are required to take this training. Most people here only leave the station for short trips or to established camps and Happy Campers will be their only night camping on the ice. For those of us on deep field teams, this will be the first day and night of about four weeks spent living on the ice.

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