Weather Window

This morning there was a two hour break in the weather. A helicopter was able to come into the valley and take one-half of our team back to the lab. Byron, Jeb, Matt, Andy and I stayed back at Lake Hoare. Tomorrow there won't be any flights because Sunday is a day off for the pilots. The five of us at Lake Hoare will head out in the morning to walk to Many Glaciers Pond where we need to collect samples. It has been great staying at Lake Hoare Camp; this is a fantastic field camp.

Lake Hoare Camp
Lake Hoare Camp hut viewed from the east.

Lake Hoare Camp

Rae Spain and Renee Noffke are the camp managers at Lake Hoare. They spend the entire field season here at Lake Hoare and play a critical role in supporting all of the science that happens in the Dry Valleys. Lake Hoare Camp is a place where you get a warm welcome and an exquisite hot meal. Rae and Renee also coordinate the other field camps and helo-ops (helicopter operations) within the valley.

Lake Hoare Camp Managers
Renee Noffke and Rae Spain are the camp managers for Lake Hoare Camp and for the other camps in Taylor Valley.

Energy at Camp

In a permanent field camp you need electricity and fuel for heating and cooking. Here at Lake Hoare most of the electricity is generated by solar panels and managed with batteries and an inverter. The solar panels must be rotated throughout the day to keep them oriented towards the sun. There is also a backup generator for times when there isn't enough sunshine to keep up with the electricity demands. The generator and heater run on diesel fuel. The kitchen stove runs on propane.

Solar panels at Lake Hoare
Solar panels provide most of the power for Lake Hoare Camp.

Batteries and inverter at Lake Hoare
The solar panels at Lake Hoare camp charge a batter system. The inverter changes the electricity to AC current for the hut.

Diesel fuel for heating Lake Hoare hut
Diesel fuel is used for the heater in the Lake Hoare hut.

Water at Camp

Water for camp comes from chunks of the glacier that break off. These pieces of glacier are referred to as ice berries and the ice berries are melted for drinking and washing water. All of the grey water is collected in 55 gallon drums and shipped back to McMurdo. The water is used sparingly to save on the work of harvesting ice berries and more importantly to minimize the amount of waste water that is produced.

Ice supply for drinking water
Ice from the Canada Glacier is melted for drinking water at Lake Hoare Camp.

Byron Adams moving ice berries
Byron Adams moving ice berries from the lake to the hut at Lake Hoare Camp.

Bathrooms at Camp

One of the first stops on our arrival tour was the bathroom. There are multiple options at Lake Hoare Camp for going to the bathroom. There are toilets that empty into buckets. These human waste buckets are then taken back to McMurdo and then returned to the U.S. in shipping containers. Two urinals empty into 55 gallon drums. There are also two rocket toilets. The rocket toilets use propane to burn the human waste that accumulates into a small pile of ash. The ash is very light and non-hazardous so it can be flown back to McMurdo easily and disposed with the regular landfill material.

Outhouses at Lake Hoare Camp
These outhouses at Lake Hoare Camp use buckets for collecting waste. The waste is frozen and transported back to McMurdo to be shipped back to the United States.

Rocket Toilet at Lake Hoare
Rocket Toilets burn the human waste into a small pile of ash. These toilets are a convenient way to reduce the amount of waste that must be shipped back from the field camp.

Inside a Rocket Toilet
The inside of a rocket toilet outhouse.

Science at Camp

The primary purpose of the camp is to provide a place for scientists to stay when their work requires them to be in the field overnight. Some projects require extended field stays or have samples that must be processed while still in the field. There are three science labs at Lake Hoare Camp to accommodate lab work while in the field. There is a radiation lab, a chemistry lab and an instrument lab.

Science lab at Lake Hoare
One of the three science labs at Lake Hoare.

Chemistry lab at Lake Hoare
Inside of the chemistry lab at Lake Hoare

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Carmelita Mattingly (not verified)

I watched a documentary w/ Anthony Bourdain and saw that Rae Spain (camp manager) was a really good cook. I was wondering if someone there could hook me up w/her somehow to get some of her great recipes