Monday, May 01, 2006

Belated report on the L O N G day on the Kongsvagen...

Yesterday evening (or more porperly this morning), we arrived from the Kongsvagen and I was too tired to create a post. Here's a rundown on what we did:

In the morning we saw that the weather was favorable for a trip to the Kongsvagen, so we loaded our sleds, made some big sandwiches to bring, filled our thermoses with tea, and headed out. Almost imediately we discovered a new meltwater stream had formed across our planned route. Fortunately this was not difficult to circumvent.

This time, instead of trying to go where we were stopped by water last time, we picked our way through the moraines higher up. This involved some tricky driving to avoid the bigger rocks.

Riding through the moraines. Photo by John Burkhart.

There were plenty of slopes we had to drive across, which can be difficult if you have a heavy snowmachine or a loaded sled. On one of these, a snowmachine slid down the slope and turned over. Once we'd righted it, our attempt to get it back up the slope ended with the snowmachine spinning its track in water, getting no traction at all.

Another sunken snowmobile.

Once we'd freed it, we dug a road for the rest of the snowmobiles to avoid the same hazard. We had no further mishaps on that spot, so we could move on to the next trouble spot. After some more shoveling and moving some of the bigger rocks, we were able to clear this obstacle as well. On to the glacier! Then it was smooth sailing to out study site.

The fog had come in, and we started our work, drilling a shallow ice core:

Ola working with the core.

And logging two boreholes. We also ran ground-penetrating radar, GPS surveys, snow depth sounding surveys, and placed corner reflectors above the snow surface, in anticipation of an overflight by an airplane carrying a radar altimeter and a laser scanner. The reflectors will help to calibrate the radar.

The corner reflector at stake 8.

After many hours, our work was done and we could finally head for home. This involved retracing our steps over the same obstacles we'd traversed on the way out, but this time tired from a long day of work! We managed to clear all the trouble spots with no difficulty, but then I noticed a flickering light on the dashboard of my snowmobile; it was running out of oil! This would be an easy way to burn up the engine, so I stopped immediately and we discussed the options. We were very close to home, and really wanted to get home without having to leave the snowmachine there. Finally we had the idea of using a tube to suck some oil out of another machine to put it in mine. This managed to get some oil in both the snowmachine and Ola's mouth! Fortunately, our Fearless Leader Jack had planned ahead and handed over several very strong mints.

In the end, the weather was clearing as we rode in, and we were treated to some of the beautiful scenery as we came into town at almost 2am. It had been a long day, and we were happy to be back.

Coming home is always a treat. Photo by John Burkhart.


At 08:13, Anonymous Einar Brandt Heiberg said...

It have been very nice to read the blog. Especially today to get a glimps of my brother Ola, who do not very often write home and tell about happenings or mishappenings.



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