Midnight Sunset at "Camp 2" -- 12 May 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Working in the area of "Camp-2"

Mike digging for food during one of the calmer periods of the second storm at Camp-2.
Having arrived at the Camp-2 location work was soon brought to an end by two severe storms. Sitting out weather conditions where visibility often cut down to less than five meters required some measures that might sound strange under normal conditions: We did not leave the mess tent anymore without telling everybody where we were going, as for instance "I am trying to find the Nutella". And when someone announced that he or she will visiti the bathroom (actually "visiting the blizzard" would be a more appropriate description for going to the toilet) your colleagues usually ask back if you have your GPS with you.

Finally wind was catching up to speeds where our mess tent was becoming severely deformed. To protect the tent and its poles from breaking we had to build snow walls. Altough bamboo poles were installed every three meters to mark all directions within the camp, no one was permitted anymore to visit the toilet, and we were moving from tent to tent mostly in groups of two.

The calm evening that followed the abrupt ending of a storm that lasted for 36 hours
Both storms rewarded us with incredibly calm evenings. Memorable was the abrupt ending of the second storm: we were sitting in the mess tent playing a game of dice and all of a sudden there was nothing but silence where only seconds ago we heard the permanent howling of the storm. We all hold our breath, waiting only for an even stronger return of the storm but for the rest of the day there was incredible silence and the sky over the ice sheet slowly cleared up.

Installing the tower of the coffee-can installation at point 2350 m a.s.l.
Maybe we encountered five, maybe six storms during the expedition. Some of them lasted for 12 hours, some for three days. The abrupt ending of the second storm at Camp-2 finally marked a change in the general weather pattern and from there on we enjoyed great weather. Finally weather permitted to drill five cores in a day. Another day we drilled several cores and installed a complete set of coffe cans. While working out there in the bright sun and seing work progressing so fast we often had to smile, telling ourselves that we had waited maybe 25, maybe 26 days for this kind of weather :-)

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