5 May 2011

Finally we go to NEEM

Group picture of NEEM 2011 put-in crew

Today we had a successful put-in. We departed Kangerlussuaq at 9.25 and landed at NEEM 11.30. We were received by the 6 members of the U.S. traverse from Thule to Summit, GRIT.
In preparation, they had excavated the entrances to two of our garage tents which helped a lot in getting our vehicles out and running.

At 12.00 the plane departed NEEM and we set to work. The snow drifts this year are very large, some of them are as high as the top of our garages and the entrances to the garages were severely drifted in. Only the main dome was accessible. Due to its spherical shape snow drifts cannot form close to it, so it sits in a 2.5 m deep crater with the snow drifts 10 m away from the walls. While the outside temperature was -20 °C , the temperature inside the dome was -9 °C  in the bottom and above 0 °C  in the top.

Events of the day:
At 14.00 we had our 16kW backup generator running, and Sarah, our cook, could begin to melt snow for drinking water and hot drinks. At 16.00 we had the Pistenbully running, and Sverrir could begin preparing the area for our main generator. Meanwhile, work gangs had excavated the cable shaft where the main generator hooks up to the entire camp. They also excavated the small elevator, gaining access to the science trench. First inspection showed that the trenches are in good condition, except that the settling snow has caused bending of a few ventilation shafts and the door to the ice core storage cave was compressed and broken. We were 17 for supper in the main dome, as the GRIT people joined us for supper. We were all eating in polar clothes. At 21.00 the main 110 kW generator was running and on-line. We all went to bed at 23.00 after an eventful and successful put-in.

What we have done today:

1. Fast turn around for Skier 95. Only 35 minutes on the snow.
2. Excavated entrances to carpenters garage and workshop garage with the
help of the GRIT traverse tractors and our snow blowers.
3. Setting up and running the 16 kW EDMO backup generator for power to
main dome until main power was established..
4. Manually excavating the top of the small elevator and gaining access to
trenches and inspecting them..
5. Pulled main generator from cargo line to camp. Connected and started it.
6. Pulled tomatoes into camp.

Ad.1: The GRIT people had outlined the skiway by making tracks so the skiway was clearly defined on approach. The snow is hard and has much smaller sastrugi than last year. The combination of good snow condition and a 15 kt wind almost along the skiway made it possible for Skier 95 to depart in first attempt using 2/3 skiway.

Weather: Thin clouds, then becoming clear. Temp. - 19 °C to - 21 °C , 10-17 knots from SSE. Visibility: Unrestricted.

We are now 11 NEEM’ers and 6 GRIT people in camp.

FL, J.P. Steffensen 

The storage garage at the end of camp is almost covered by snowdrifts


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