Hello from windy Taylor Glacier! For some of us, this marks just two weeks in camp but it already feels like a nice home away from home. So where are we? What is it like? While photographs don’t quite capture the magic of this landscape, here is an attempt to give you a sense of our icy home.
Taylor Glacier is in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. Our camp is located about ~15 km (~9 miles) from the terminus, or end, of Taylor Glacier. Several stunning glaciers surround us while the Kukri and Friis Hills loom over camp. Up valley we can see the Quatermain Mountains and a place called Windy Gully. Our winds come down glacier as they pour off of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. At the moment, we are all too familiar with these winds as we start our fourth day of strong, relentless wind. We have consistently had wind gusts of over 40 knots (46 mph).
We can generally accomplish all of our work when it is windy but the wind creates a less than optimal sleeping environment and demands extra attention around camp. Wind can move even the heaviest of items (e.g. sleds, fuel drums) in camp so we have everything strapped down. Even when it is calm, we check these items frequently to make sure that nothing will blow away when, inevitably, the wind returns. Our sleeping tents are standard camping tents so the wind shakes and rattles us all night. Earplugs are an important part of our sleep kits out here!
The rest of camp is made up of our cook tent, two bathroom tents and a range of science tents located near where we are currently drilling with the Blue Ice Drill (BID). Our blue cook tent is where we eat our meals and spend most of our free time, as it is the only space with a heater. In the next post, we will tell you about our yellow Scott tent, the bathroom with one of the best views in the world!
Despite the wind, we are all still smiling. Everyone is busy collecting and sampling ice cores. Kathy is preparing plenty of hot, delicious food. As always, there is nothing a big cup of hot chocolate can’t fix!
All the best from the Taylor Glacier team!