I am norwegian doctor who worked as expedition doc on the Antarctic research station Troll for the summer season 2007-2008. NB: This blog is intended as a personal and ecological account from The Ice Planet - fully independent of the Norwegian Polar Institute, their official web page being: npweb.npolar.no
18 Feb 2008
4 km north of the station is the low hill called Klovningen. The area north of it is heavily crevassed because of a glacier fall squeezing by. Immediately before the cliff face lies a massive wind-hole, called "Klovningsdella". It's not visible before the ice practically disappears under your feet (belts, in our case). You can enter this "secret valley" on foot from the south side only, elsewhere you would need climbing gear. It's a beautiful spot, with a flat blue ice "lake" glimmering on the valley floor, and a sizeable colony of snow petrels in the sunbathed and wind-protected scree slope.
These are not snow petrels.
We found a total of 54 empty fuel drums in the wind-hole - all of them blown here across the blue ice from the station during the november hurricane. Most of the barrels had aggregated in heaps under big rocks like this one. The rock seems to be resting on a pedestal, because the ice column immediately beneath it is shaded from the melting rays of the sun.
We stuffed the barrels into a net, and pulled it up the steep slope by belt wagon.
2 seconds after this picture was taken, as the net was hanging right under the edge, the rope gave in to the snow friction. Ken, our expedition leader (small figure in the bottom right corner) turned his head, saw 30 barrels tumbling down the slope towards him, and ran for it.
Next attempt, using a pulley system with 2 belt wagons and a crane on the edge, went without unpleasant surprises.