Zeppelin Mountain

I'll start with a great hike that I took last night with Rebecca and Liz up to "Zeppelin Mountain" behind Ny Ålesund. It is named after a famous zeppelin (airship or blimp) ride by the Polar explorer Roald Amundsen. He made the first aerial ride across the North Pole in a zeppelin from Ny Ålesund to Nome, Alaska. There are a few things named after this famous zeppelin ride here in Ny Ålesund, including the beautiful mountain just behind it.

It was a beautiful "evening" after dinner with lots of sun, so Liz and Rebecca and I decided to tackle this mountain. There isn't exactly a trail to the top, but we were told the best way to go, which was essentially straight up along a gully and snow field. There's a station at the top with atmospheric monitoring equipment, and apparently it's completely off limits so we had to stay away from that.

Zeppelin Mountain
View from Ny Ålesund looking up to Zeppelin Mountain (photo by Rebecca Siegel)

The hike up was a challenge – it's all bits of rock broken up by glaciers with no soil or plants to keep things together. And it was probably one of the steepest hikes I've ever taken!

Zeppelin Mountain
Halfway up our hike to the top of Zeppelin Mountain (photo by Rebecca Siegel)

Zeppelin Mountain
Liz and me almost at the top of Zeppelin Mountain. You can just about see just how steep this climb was! (photo from Rebecca Siegel)

It took us a little over an hour to climb 400 meters (1200 feet) so I felt pretty proud of us! The view at the top is amazing – on the other side of the mountain is another set of glaciers, and as we looked around we saw glacier after glacier. (Rebecca counted 28!)

Atop Zeppelin Mountain
The glaciers on the other side of Zeppelin mountain

Atop Zeppelin Mountain
Atop Zeppelin Mountain

Atop Zeppelin Mountain
Liz and Rebecca at the top of Zeppelin Mountain

Atop Zeppelin Mountain
Mist along the ridge on Zeppelin Mountain

Atop Zeppelin Mountain
Looking down the ridge on Zeppelin Mountain. In the background is Kronebreen Glacier where we spend our days studying the sediment. If you look closely in the middle along the ridge you can see me!

I took these panoramic shots from the top:

Click on the images to enlarge - these are very large photos, but if you have a good internet connection, they are worth it. Once they open, you can click again for a really large view that you can scroll through.

Panorama from Zeppelin Mountain
Panorama from Zeppelin Mountain, with me in the middle

Panorama from Zeppelin Mountain
Panorama from Zeppelin Mountain

Panorama from Zeppelin Mountain
Panorama from Zeppelin Mountain, with Rebecca and Liz in the middle

Another Day at the 'Office'

Today we got a relatively early start to get working on collecting data. It was a pretty calm day, so we got right over to the ice face and got to work. (Well, actually, we forgot one very important piece of equipment, so our boat had to make the ½ hour ride back to Ny Ålesund and then back out to the ice face, but after that it was a productive day!)

We had our most successful day of box coring yet (sampling the surface sediments on the sea floor). I manned the winch while Daren drove, George navigated with the GPS and Liz took the samples from the box coring device. We had a good rhythm going so we were quite efficient at it. Then we uploaded the HOBO data for Rebecca and headed home.

HOBO duty
George uploads the HOBO data while I do Polar Bear watch duty

Now earlier in the day we had noticed some large swells coming in to the fjord – by the time we drove home the wind was really howling and the water was really choppy. We had probably 3-4 foot swells and lots of whitecaps. Our little boat doesn't handle water like that very well, so we all got soaked. Needless to say the usually ½ hour ride took us well over an hour.

Daren drives
A classic Daren shot - drinking his tea while driving the boat. He soon had to put down the tea as the waves really picked up fast on the way home!

PolarConnect Webinar

After dinner we had our second "Polar Connect" webinar - we had our first one on Monday. Both webinars went really well. It was the first time for me to see the students talking about their projects, and I continue to be impressed at how deep their understanding of science is and how well they can communicate about it. I enjoyed hearing questions from some of my present and former (and future!) students. You all asked some excellent questions! Thanks to everyone who took the time to participate in the webinar – I hope that you enjoyed it and learned something!

PolarConnect
This is the room where we did our Polar Connect webinar presentation. This lovely room is in the Norwegian Polar Institute Building, which explains the large photo of the King of Norway on the wall above my head! (photo by Ross Powell)

PolarConnect
Daren giving his part of the Polar Connect presentation

Panoramic Shots of the Ice

I'm going to sign off there for tonight, but I'll end with a couple of panoramic shots I took today at the ice front.

Click on the images to enlarge - these are very large photos, but if you have a good internet connection, they are worth it. Once they open, you can click again for a really large view that you can scroll through.

Panorama of Kronebreen Glacier, South side
Panorama of Kronebreen Glacier, South side (where we spend most of our time)

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Panorama of Kronebreen Glacier, North side
Panorama of Kronebreen Glacier, North side (we call this

Author
Date
Coordinates
79° 0' 0" N , 12° 0' 0" E
Location
Ny Ålesund, Spitsbergen
Weather Summary
Cold and windy
Temperature
38
Wind Speed
12
Wind Chill
27
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