18 May 2015

Good-bye NEEM. Welcome EGRIP traverse

 The traverse leaves NEEM (some disturbed snow hills in the background).

The traverse leaves NEEM (some disturbed snow hills in the background).

Finally, we are on our way.

Even though we began early, the whole morning was spent doing service to vehicles, doing the last packing and arranging the sleds into trains. It requires a very special technique to line up four 7-10 ton sleds in a row to be hooked up.

At 15.20 the traverse pulled off, and the NEEM site is not a camp anymore. We are now the EGRIP traverse.

Not everything went according to plan on this first day. After only 4 km, one Flexmobil had a broken fan belt. This was repaired in half an hour. Then the snow got softer, and the two Pistenbullies had trouble keeping up with their heavy loads. Several times they were stuck, and most of the time, they could barely make 7 km/hour.

To the rescue came Pat in his huge CASE tractor. After pulling the dome in position, Pat returned to help the struggling Pistenbullies. This was welcomed by the rest of camp, as the Pistenbullies had the camp generator in tow.

In contrary to the slow pulling, camp setup was accomplished in half an hour. The dome contains everything, and with a little power, you are at home.

Several more items needed to be secured in the main dome. As Dorthe was the only person onboard in the dome, she was busy securing items with straps, screws and wooden blocks all day.

To make the traverse faster, we will reconfigure the loads according to today’s performance of the vehicles.

We ate supper at 22.00, where Dorthe served a warm meal.

What we have done today:
1.    Packing last items.
2.    Service on vehicles.
3.    Arranging sled trains.
4.    All clear to go at 15.20. At 22.00 we reached Waypoint 4 (77.37 N,
       50.11W, 24 km from NEEM site)
5.    Some last GPS points were measured.  
6.    Contact with our colleagues on the Renland Ice cap at 22.00 local (24.00
       Renland time, or 12.00 camp time).

Ad.6: The Renland team reports all well. In the short report, due to bad phone connection, the crew reported that drilling goes well.

NEEM weather: Beautiful all day, by late evening, fog. Temp. – 15°C to -28°C, 3 m/s from southerly direction. Visibility unrestricted until fog came.

FL, J.P. Steffensen

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