Pull-out or not to Pull-out

The hole that the science tent left behind after we dug it out. The original floor is 1.5 meters lower than now.

View from inside Barb’s and Juliane’s tent. The snow has drifted and covered more than half way up our entrance.

Friday we woke up to howling 25 knots winds and -5F (-20C) with a windchill of -40F, so a normal day here in the field. We have finished searching our beloved moraine and besides pulling flags we are pretty much done with our work here. We have recovered all the meteorites that were here, our end count is 200 meteorites total. If all was going to go well we were going to get pulled back to Shackleton Glacier Camp today. Clearly that didn’t happen as you can tell. Since weather conditions were too bad for going and pulling flags yesterday we started to get organized in camp instead, sorting trash and human waste, doing meteorite and collecting inventory, packing bags, and preparing for the pull out that was going to happen today. We dug out our tents, the new ground is now 1.5 meters higher from all the drifting snow than when we first arrived. Crazy! So we had to dig through 1.5 meters of snow to free all the tent stakes and tent floors. We pulled down the science tent and packed it all up, after 1 hour of shoveling. Every time we had cleared one side we had to start again on the side we previously already dug out because by the time we were done with the second side the first side was already snow drifted in again. An endless fight against the howling wind with blowing snow. But we finally managed to get the science tent free and packed up. Later we started digging out our own tents. After 3 hours of hard digging, packing and s orting we had all tents dug out and most of our stuff was packed and ready to go. For the first time since coming to Antarctica I was sweating even in -40F windchill. By dinner time though we already heard that our pull-out for today was canceled but that we were still on as a back-up (that means if their new primary mission got canceled we would be activated and be pulled out). We went to bed at 7:30pm yesterday totally spent from all that digging and shoveling. Today we woke up to weather conditions worse than yesterday. Our pull-out flights officially got canceled. Looks like Antarctica doesn’t want us to leave. The next pull-out date to Shackleton Camp for us is now on Monday if all goes well and the weather (and Antarctica) cooperates. Since conditions are worse today than yesterday we are tent bound, maybe we will get to pull flags tomorrow? Barb and I woke up this morning and saw that our tent, that we had dug out so painfully yesterday, was completely drifted in again and that the snow had piled more than half way up to our entrance. So we had to dig ourselves from the inside out again. Luckily we are already used to that and have stored a shovel inside our tent. Now we wait, for the weather to get better so we can pull flags and for our pull-out to Shackleton.

Juliane, Mt. Cecily/Mt. Raymond, Antarctica, Jan. 13th, 2pm