Friday, November 13, 2009

Blowing Snow

It is crazy windy and snowy out today, but warm. I'm still waiting to go to WAIS Divide. We have been delayed by weather for a week and a half. We are now scheduled for monday. These are pictures from last year when I was at Siple Dome. Siple Dome is a refueling stop for airplanes about 500 miles from McMurdo. It is pretty small with a 2 or 3 person crew and a runway. It is 360 degrees of flat white. Wais Divide is also flat and white but is a much bigger camp. I was at Siple Dome for a week last year. There were about seven or eight carpenters there, and our main job was to dig out the Jamesway and move it. A Jamesway is a World War Two/Korean War era enclosure like the ones you see on the old MASH TV show. These things are over fifty years old but still perform great. They dissasemble and set up easily. They are slowly being phased out and replaced with a newer type shelter called a RAC tent. RAC tents have a similar look to Jamesways. Anything that sits out here will drift over with snow. Some tents are taken down each year. Some aren't. The ones that aren't have to be dug out approximatey every three years or so and moved to higher ground. It's a lot of work. It took us two days just to dig this one out with probably five or six people working all day. We lucked out in that the weather was unusually warm. A lot of the time I worked in just a thermal shirt and sweater. Pants optional. The best nights sleep I've ever had in a tent was here at Siple Dome. I was there for Christmas. I went out cross country skiing, came back for drinks and a lamb dinner. Then a nice long nap. Not too shabby.

Siple Dome field camp
My tent at Siple Dome

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