Tuesday, June 5, 2007


Things at summit seem to be moving along well enough. As we're starting to get to the warmer temps, we're getting the seasonal staff change-out this week. Lots of the VECO staff (the carpenters, electricians, and general assembly people) are leaving tomorrow (maybe), and with these planes we have more sciency sorts coming in. Some of the sciency are here only for a few days (leaving Thursday) while others are here for another 6 weeks. With all the additional people, the camp feels a bit crowded again. As of Thursday, camp should be back down in the 30s (as far as the # of people here).

For the month of June we have 3 birthdays: Justin (left, departed yesterday), Nick the medic (middle, leaving tomorrow... maybe), and me (right, here for 2 more weeks). The cooks decided we should have one grandiose celebration, viewed here at lunch the other day.

The weather, being warmer, is a bit more moist. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit better when it was -40 C vs this -10 C stuff. Too freakin wet. That, and it's snowing. The powder would be wonderful if there were only a ski hill around here, with how light and fluffy it is... Perfect for face shots. However, since our packed down paths are constantly blowing over, we're tracking snow and water into all the buildings. Things are a wee bit messier.

One advantage of the warmer temps though is I can pack up a bit of my heavier clothing, so my tent comprises of a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and a closed duffel back. [I'm always curious what items we'd find if one of these tents decides to take off and blow away- my duffle wouldn't move).

And speaking of the tents, who came up with these freakin tents anyway? "The Arctic Oven." Sounds great on paper, but let's review, if you will, how these tents actually work:
It's standard double-wall tent, only it has a darker interior which is designed to absorb the solar radiation, and thus, in the 24 hour daylight, heat the tent. However, they seem to have had some slight oversights while pondering this idea.
  1. The tents are huge for 1 person to warm up, so when it's cold in the tent, the lone occupant has no chance of warming the tent, unlike smaller mountaineering tents
  2. When it's sunny outside, the solar radiation is so potent anyway, you don't need this extra warming of the tent.
When the sun is out, these tents are sweltering hot! I can't freaking stay in the thing! When it's cold outside, it's frigid in the tent! The tent is backwards! Who needs a tent to be heated in sunny weather?! I'm sure there is a fraction of the time when these tents are great, but someone certainly didn't think this entire process all the way through.

Anyway, back to warm weather topics:
This also means we can set up a volleyball net and start with the volleyball. The golf clubs will come out pretty soon. I hear someone up here was even wise enough to bring some orange balls... We'll have to wait for the powder to get blown out of here before we decide to lose all the golf balls though. Perhaps we'll set up a course on the ski-way... *that* snow is certainly packed down enough.

And, with the snow and wind, it's anyone's guess as to whether we'll actually get the LC-130 flight in tomorrow or not. If the plane was circling over camp as I write this, they'd head back to Kanger without landing. The visibility is a bigger issue than the wind, though the wind kills the visibility. Tomorrow's wind is predicted to be 25 knots. We'll just have to see.

Time to forage for food.

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