A team went across Antarctica.
Temperature: -27.8 C, - 18.0 F
Windchill: - 36.0 C, - 32.8 F
Wind: 4.9 knts.
Weather: clear and sunny
In the morning of Christmas Eve we had special guests arriving at the South Pole that we looked forward greeting for some time. It was the ITASE Travers team. We were glad they made it to our Christmas dinner on December 24. Most of them also participated in our "race around the world”. The team has been traversing Antarctica since October. Here is some information about them. The team posted daily journals on their web
ITASE Traverse (International Trans Antarctic Expedition): Research from Taylor Dome to South Pole (Event # I-153-M/S)
The ITASE Traverse is an ongoing project that is a collaborative of many nations. The traverse this year is from Byrd Glacier to South Pole, and the researchers will collect ice cores and take other data en route. They are studying the last 200 years of East Antarctica’s environmental history.
I had the pleasure to visit with them and get to know a bit about their work before they left the station to go back to their homes. They were 12 participants, including one cook. It was interesting seeing their equipment and imagining their work while traversing across the Antarctic continent. They had two trails with each one tractor.
Trail across Antarctica
This is one of the trails the traverse team came across Antarctica. The blue boxes were for sleeping, eating and working.
The Tractor for the Antarctic trail
This tractor pulled the first trail.
Second Trail across Antarctica.
This tractor pulled the second trail behind it.
Pisten Bully and crevasses
This Pisten Bully carried a device in front of it to detect crevasses. Josh was the mechanic on this trip. This was his second traverse with this team.
**Ice cores from the Traverse **
Sharon Sneed, one of the team members from the University of Main is standing in front of the boxes she filled with ice cores. They will be analyzed in Maine.
Kitchen along the Travers
This was the cooking space the cook prepared meals for 12 people along the way.
Inside the Traverse Camp
Paul Mayewski and Brian Welch are welcoming me inside their trailer. Paul is from the University of Main and he is the Principal Investigator of the traverse. Bryan is a scientist from the University St Olaf’s, MN.
In 2003 Brian and Paul were traversing with the TEA teacher (Teacher Experiencing the Antarctic and the Arctic) Elizabeth Youngman. This is her web page: http://tea.armadaproject.org/tea_youngmanantarcticafrontpage.html
In 2001/02 After many Betsy conducted already similar work in Greenland. http://tea.armadaproject.org/tea_youngmanfrontpage.html
Here is some information about other traverse teams arriving at the pole given to us by the com-department at South Pole:
Norwegian-U.S. International Polar Year Scientific Traverse: Climate Variability and Glaciology in East Antarctica (Event # I-155-M/S)
This is a collaborative project between Norway and the United States. The traverse started at Troll Station (Norwegian) and is coming to Pole. In addition to collecting a variety of data, they will revisit sites first explored during 1960s-era traverses. We expect them to arrive in January. They will winterize their equipment to stay here, and fly to McMurdo. Next summer they will return to Pole to travel a different route back to Troll Station.
South Pole Traverse:
The South Pole Traverse is an operational traverse. The Traverse arrived for the first time at Pole in December, 2005 – completing a "proof of concept” to accomplish it. Goals of the SPT include: offsetting the required number of tanker missions to South Pole, assisting with the removal of retrograde cargo, and opening the Ross Ice Shelf to science. The focus of the Traverse this year is to repair and maintain the route. They have been underway since mid-November. This traverse may or may not come all the way to South Pole this year. (If they do arrive, it would be late December.)
Details on this traverse are still being worked out. The Chilean Traverse that may visit is an example of the NSF providing support to another nation’s scientific efforts. This can happen with support of fuel, meals, etc, and details generally vary each time. We’ll keep you posted with developments.
We expect the Chilean Traverse to arrive at Pole around 29 December. The traverse is made up of a tractor convoy will stay at South Pole for a couple of days, then continue to 88º 39' S/20 W (edge of the clean air zone) and on to the South Pole of Inaccessibility with logistic personnel, where it should arrive around January 8. From there it will return back to Patriot Hills.
South Pole is certainly an exciting place to be. It is also a place of many good by’s
After many interesting conversations, it was good by near the ski-way before their return home.
Good by to the Traverse Team
Elke (left) is saying good by to the ITASE Traverse team.