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

21 Dec 2007

Crevasse training

Only 10 min drive from the station, by BV 206, is an outlet glacier, a kind of "waterfall" in ice coming down from an even larger glacier, "Fjellimellom", which is a massive glacier, akin to a "river", coming straight from the polar ice cap. Where this icefall empties into our more stagnant blue ice glacier "lake", a series of crevasses form due to the stretching caused by the difference in ice speed. The crevasses are mostly hidden beneath fragile snowbridges. It's unsafe to travel here without safety ropes and the knowledge of how to use them. Yesterday we learnt how.

Jens, our expedition leader, is also a professional mountaineering/glacieering trainer (spending the other half of the year in Spitsbergen, in the high Arctic), and gave us a course. We spent the first half of the day playing with ropes, carabines, and improvised pulley systems, then went to explore a 15m+ deep crevasse.

Jens had marked the location with a pole from the year before, so it was only a matter of digging down 1m or so to get into the crevasse.

It looks small from above.

Cathedral of ice beneath. I'm now standing on a snow bridge. Later it collapsed partially, and I swinged like a pendulum into the wall. Well secured, it was a small matter (except for my biceps muscles..) to climb back up the rope.

Siv, one of our cooks, with more secure footing. The helmet proved useful, as Jens was digging a new hole down through the crevasse roof while we were down there, causing snow and ice to rain from above.

Håvard (our logistics man) checking to see if I'd frozen fast. I was taking a breather on my way up - hanging in free air.


Unknown said...

God jul sørafor.
/fetter Christian

Ed Moran said...

WHat a fantastic adventure! Brilliant. EVen I have now reached the point of envy. Could you text me your email (or email if you can remember mine) so I can write proper?

Ta. and Happy Christmas!