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Brandon Gillette's picture

Some of us are home, so of us are on the way home. With various weather delays last week, our flights to the ice sites at the top of Byrd Glacier above two subglacial lakes were canceled three days in a row. And with the overcrowding currently at McMurdo, it was decided that half our team would head back to the states, while the other half would stay through the weekend and try once more to get out on the Twin Otter. Mike, Kristin and Brandon began the long northward trek while Peter, Leigh and Gordon all stayed behind. The plan was to place the three remaining summer ice sites near the base of The Byrd (1 additional heli flight) and the two winter-over ice sites at the top of the glacier (Twin Otter flight).

Those of us that left early just received word that the remaining crew did get out on the Twin Otter on Monday, however, it was too crevassed to land. They were not listed on the heli schedule for Tuesday. They were then scheduled to start their northward trek on Wednesday, and at last check, were awaiting their plane late Wednesday morning. Judging by the lack of communication, it is presumed that they have started the trip and should be arriving back in the states in the next few days!

All-in-all we had a very successful trip, though it would have been nice to place a few additional GPS units. Five out of the original six are headed back to The Byrd in February to retrieve our summer only sites and may have the opportunity to place a few additional units for winter monitoring. Only Kristin will not be joining us. It was pretty amazing walking around on solid ice, in a place no one had walked before us. Ice serac's rising tens of feet into the air, surrounded by crevasses reflecting quite possibly the most beautiful blue color that exists on this planet. We're looking forward to successful return trip and then onto analyzing this data!