The Final Push

Our first flight to WAIS departs on Monday, if and only if nature allows. Before the put-in crew takes off we are finalizing our packing and taking part in many training courses. It's a relief to have the food pull done. This involved packing up 19 tri-walls (50" x 50" x 50") of frozen, do not freeze and dried goods. We banged that out in a day and I volunteered to type up the inventory just to know what we have in stock. Several locals have asked me if I ever work because they always see me running around and I laugh because they can't relate to what preparing a field camp is like. I'm a sous at WAIS, but I'm also taking on the rolls in the departments of cargo, recreation, transport, etc. before heading out.

Waking up in a crammed room in 155 with some grumpy Polies that were supposed to fly out over a week ago. The room reeks of stinky bunny boots and manmade methane.

I saw my name on the mail list and went to the post office where I picked up my box I shipped down from the Arctic. Holy duct tape.

Every morning our camp meets and we are always getting new toys and clothing. I've been given 6 extra pair of different cold weather work gloves, in addition two my 3 pair of personal and 3 ECW issued, and I think to myself... is WAIS really this extreme? Yes.

Then we all separate to pack or do whatever needs to be done. A couple days ago I picked up a mountain bikes for us. I am not sure if biking on flat white ice will work, but you never know unless you try. As a backup we could mount them on a stand and create exercise bikes.

Here's our fire training. Our fire team at WAIS is us.

How to hold, point and shoot fire extinguishers.

The big ones that we store near the air fields. Had to pull this one out of the snow. Darn drifts.

An hour later one of the dorms had smoking pouring out the door. Something to do with the boiler room. I asked if they need help, but they had it covered.

Next, sea ice survival refresher.

Success. Fire.

Success. Shelter.

Oooohhh it's a lovely day.

40 knot winds, -27 deg F, lovely.

Next, the mech shop. My new fav. shop. Ski doos, mini supertweaked 50 CC crotch rockets, solar panels...

Here's a heater that we will have at the camp. These heat the buildings and burn holes in the ice that we defecate in.

A species of generator that we'll be using. We need to know how to operate, refuel and fix. There is no I in WAIS, there is WAIS.

This is like 10% of our generator supply at Mac.

Tons of cool solar panels laying around. Science ops use these for things like communications and data loggers.

Nice to see one outside of SSC.

Another lovely, windy day.

Next, the food pull.

Easiest way to pack is to jump in.




After work rock show at Gallager's with Chef Russ singing his heart and soul out on stage. We're rockstars.


Back inside at the mech warehouse this morning. Snow machine training. The coolest training.

Studying the beast from the inside out.

Checking out how the belts work.

After we studied it we jumped into the back of a pick up and drove out to the ice.

We each got a machine. Primed it. Got her running. Let it run for a bit to warm up. Then went through an obstacle course. I passed, but got reprimanded for getting too much air.

For the finale we cruised about a 1/4 mile out, took a rest, then sped back at full speed to get a taste of how freezing and fricken awesome motorized skis can be.

Next, Halloween - the biggest party of the year in Antarctica.