Early morning hike up Observation Hill

Observation Hill
Summit of Observation Hill. This was the hill that Robert Falcon Scott's men climbed each day to look across the McMurdo Sound hoping to spot his team returning from the South Pole. They did not return.

Last day of preparation before our helicopter flight into the Dry Valleys tomorrow.

We spent today making final preparations for our 11am helicopter flight into the Dry Valleys. I have been away from home for 10 days now, and it has been one big adventure after another. But, I have a feeling that what has happened to this point will be nothing compared to what is about to happen during the next month. We will be dropped off in some of the most remote locations on the planet. Conditions could be very harsh, but I am very confident in our team's skills, experience, and abilities. Dr. Adams and Dr. Jeb Barratt have almost 40 years of Antarctic exploration so when it comes to experience, it doesn't get much better than that.

radio training
Receiving radio and sat phone training. It is important to always have good communication when out in the field, just in case there is a need to call back to McMurdo.

Weighing equipment
Our field equipment, which includes tents, sleeping kits, packs, food, science equipment, and other stuff, all needs to be weighed and labeled. The helicopter pilot will need to know the weight of his cargo and passengers. He will also need to know where to drop it because he will drop us off at one location and the camp gear at another. We have experiments to conduct at one location, then hike to our campsite for the night.

Our McMurdo science talk tonight was presented by one of our own. Ruth is also a Dry Valley LTER scientist. She gave a great presentation discussing the ecology of the Dry Valleys. To sum up her findings, as the title to her presentation says, different factors of the ecosystems show more connectivity as temperatures increase. Her sketch describes these findings also. This concept will be discussed more in future journals.

The next journal will be coming to you from the Dry Valleys (if the weather cooperates), so stay tuned as I finally get to put eyes on the locations I have heard, and dreamed about, for years now.

77° 50' 24" S , 166° 40' 12" E
McMurdo Island
Weather Summary
Partly Cloudy
Wind Speed
Add Comment


Ryatt (not verified)

What kind of gear are you taking with you on the trip? Or, more specifically, how large is it, and will it also be dropped off separately? Are antennas involved?

Mary (not verified)

Why does everything need to be weighed?

Kevin Dickerson

Hi Ryatt.I am allowed two bags. One will be my pack that I will be using to hike to our sites. I am required to always carry my ECW (extreme cold weather) gear whenever away from camp. Food, water, GPS, sunglasses, first aid kit, pee bottle, and our science equipment is general equipment taken into the field. We also took our sleep kits, tent, and I packed my computer and cameras on the helicopter for the flight.

Kevin Dickerson

HI Mary.Everything needs to be weighed, included myself, to be put on the helicopter. We flew in the large C12 helicopters, but there is still a weight limit. The pilots do great work in managing the helicopter load weight and other safety issues.

Addison Heath (not verified)

Hi Mr. D,It looks like you are having fun! Hope everything is great. Stay warm and have a good time.
-Addison Heath A2

Kevin Dickerson

Hi Addison. Yep, for sure, this is one of the highlights of my life for sure. Thanks for checking in on me. You also stay warm.