WAIS DIVIDE

wais-sign-photo
79.46 S, 112.08 W

 

I’ll hopefully be leaving for camp soon so I want to get a bunch of posts in about the camp before I set off.  In the coming months while at camp there will likely be less (if any) pictures since the internet I have is really text only 50 K no pictures.  I’ll have my Seattle Gnome helping me out and will may be using friends at McMurdo who can email pictures back home if I send them a flash drive through cargo on a flight from WAIS to McMurdo so stand by for that.  Leaving depends on many things but mostly planes that are available and working as well as weather that cooperates.  I’ll be essentially packed and ready to go after tomorrow and anything can happen – I can leave Tuesday or I can leave after Thanksgiving.  I’m for sure looking forward to getting out there!

Some details…

WAIS Divide Camp is located on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in Marie Byrd Land at an elevation of 5917 feet and is approximately 1020 nautical miles from McMurdo Station.  WAIS Camp was originally built in 2005-2006 to support a deep ice core-drilling project, which was in operation for seven years. The terrain surrounding WAIS Divide Camp is characterized as flat and white. There are no known crevasse fields in the area.  Here is an aerial view once camp is all set up and running.

wsd-aerial-camp-labeled-15-16

Starting in the top right the 20-25 little dots represent “tent city” where everyone sleeps (with one outhouse in the middle).  From there towards you is “town” with some structured tents (from back to front) for KBA pilot’s living quarters, medical, Rec Tent where we hang out attached to the “wash module” where there are sinks, showers and even a clothes washer, galley where we eat, the communications tent (weather and general camp communications w outside world and planes), and then some other tents including the scientists staging tents and the Mechanics “Barn”.  To the left of that strip are some small structures including our outhouses.  (Post coming soon about the outhouses!!)  Beyond that to the left are storage and cargo stuff.  The two squares you see in the foreground are giant fuel bladders that will constantly need to be shoveled out.  Way up top to the left is where the deep ice core drill was, or is, I’m not sure since they got all the way down if the drill is still there, but there is a building there that is now “underground” or really under snow because it was built on the surface 10 years ago and since then, well…it’s snowed a little.  (I’ll try to to a post on that too and dig up some pics).

town-line-on-a-sunny-day

Our crew consists of about 15 crew members including mechanics, operators (of machines), cargo and fuel people, cargo coordinator, carpenters, two weather people, a chef and a sous chef, field camp managers and assistant field camp managers.   In addition to our regular crew we’ll have KBA pilots, scientist and the traverse crew leaving for Pirit Hill.

That’s the quick jist of it.  I’ll be diving a little deeper into the different buildings, tents and camp life out at WAIS Divide this season.

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