EastGRIP 2016 is open! – University of Copenhagen

28 April 2016

EastGRIP 2016 is open!

Wednesday, 27th April and Thursday 28th 2016.

The first team of seven field participants arrived at EastGRIP yesterday at noon. Temperatures were pleasant at -12°C and the wind almost disappeared shortly after arrival, causing temperatures to rise to -8°C and making opening of camp rather easy. We opened the main dome and found everything intact without any snowdrifts inside. The garages were in good shape, with little snow around them, so access was easy. Due to the high temperature, it was relatively easy to start most of the vehicles.

Last year when we arrived at EGRIP by traverse late May, the site had not seen snow fall since February. The aged snow surface was full of sastrugi (bumpy snowdrifts), and it was difficult to groom the skiway. This year, it is evident that a lot of snow has come recently. The surface is soft with few sastrugi. The snow is much easier to work with than last year.

The first day is always very busy with a lot of small tasks that have to be executed in sequence in order to insure the safety and comfort of personnel (ourselves).

The LC-130 (Hercules) was not able to get airborne due to soft snow, high temperature and no wind. The crew had to shut down the plane and sleep over in camp, while we groomed the skiway overnight. This morning, the plane took off at 6.30, and was airborne in 1st attempt using only half of the skiway. This result was obtained not only by grooming, but also from lower temperatures and a headwind of 8 knots. The 109th crew were pleasant company, and took our busy running about in the stride.

Today, it has been colder, but still pleasant. We continue work on being ready to receive three more flights in the coming days. Hans Christian has been grooming, Kaitlin and Sune took care of the several hundred skiway markers, Sepp and Joel teamed up for several tasks, Sarah was cooking excellent meals as usual (tonight was salmon) and J.P. was frantically running about to get an overview and trying to solve a problem with one Pistenbully.

Sepp gives instructions to two crew members of the stranded LC-130 (in the background) on how snow samples are taken.

What we did yesterday:

  1. Seven people arrived at EGRIP at 12.00 with Skier (tail 02)
  2. Outhouse ready.
  3. Opened main dome. All in perfect condition.
  4. Opened Carpenters garage and mechanics garage.
  5. We have one snowblower, 2 snowmobiles, Caterpillar  and one Pistenbully running.
  6. Started main generator at 16.00. Back-up generator was powering the main dome for two hours.
  7. Tomato sled pulled into camp.
  8. J.P. trained Hans Christian in driving the Pistenbully.
  9. Groomed skiway.
  10. Had visit from overnighting crew of stranded LC-130. We were 14 people in camp.

Ad.4: The floor in both garages had evaporated to sink 40 cm, except under vehicles and under cargo. The steel beams in the floor were floating 30 cm over the snow. Just inside the garage entrances was a 40 cm ledge, which made it difficult to drive out sleds and vehicles. It was particularly dramatic when we drove the Caterpillar out. For winter parking the Caterpillar had its load arm with forks raised over the cabin of a Pistenbully. Before moving the Caterpillar out, the load arm was raised clear of the Pistenbully and well clear of the garage roof; but as J.P. slowly reversed the caterpillar, it flipped backwards due to the uneven floor, and the forks tore a hole in the roof. The tear was repaired today.

Ad.8: In the evening the center third of the skiway was groomed, and because of the new snow, it was easy to work with.
The 109th crew were satisfied with the result.

What we have done today:

  1. Resetting all skiway markers. Both lead-ins are marked to 12,000 feet.
  2. Reconfigured apron to a width of 300 feet.
  3. Groomed skiway to full width and apron and taxiways.
  4. Repairing tear in roof of mechanics garage.
  5. Working on PB no.2. It will not start.
  6. Laid out cable to power carpenters garage.
  7. Computer work on new internet interface for camp.

Ad 5: We have written about the problems to Pistenbully service.

Wednesday weather: Light snow, later clearing. Temp. – 6 °C to -22 °C, calm to 12 knots from WSW. Visibility: To horizon.
Thursday weather: Clear all day. Temp. – 18 °C to - 25 °C, 8 knots from
SW. Visibility: To horizon.

We are now 7 EGRIPers (Sarah, Kaitlin, Hans Christian, Joel, Sune, Sepp and J.P.) in camp.

FL, J.P. Steffensen

← Previous entry   Next entry →