To find a safe route through the shifting crevasses that make the first 70 miles of the journey challenging, four GrIT team members are exploring the transition from island to ice sheet. We learned a few years ago that the ice sheet is so dynamic in the transition that we have to find a new route using ground-penetrating radar every time we prepare to pass through it. Our “SCAT” team members—strategic crevasse avoidance technicians—are doing this right now. Progress had been slow earlier this week as the team faced brutal conditions and a lanced segment of the ice sheet, but they found a way to “thread the needle” through this zone. Onward!
Back on the SCAT team by popular demand: CRREL’s Jen Mercer (navigator) and Allan Delaney (radar expert), and CPS’s Robin Davies (driver) and Kevin Emery (mountaineer). New team member Galen Dossin also is on the SCAT team, sharing crevasse-probing duties with Kevin.
When the SCAT has found the path, the traverse proper will launch from Thule, with new vehicles, sled configurations, and infrastructure. We’ll share photos from Robin Davies when we get them. For now, enjoy these images of arctic program 2.0 personnel who look as though they’re ready to head out on the GrIT with the tall people.
The National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs (NSF) funds the Greenland Inland Traverse. CH2M HILL Polar Services and Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratories are working together with the NSF to develop the traverse infrastructure and route to Summit Station. The 2011 spring traverse will deliver fuel to the NEEM international drilling camp and Summit Station, continue efforts to optimize mobility, and provide a research platform. For more field notes coverage of GrIT, click here.
Allen Cornelison, Polar Field Services, CH2M HILL Polar Services
GrIT project manager