Summit at Last

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The happy face of a scientist going to the field – just after takeoff.

We made it! I’m super excited. Great weather all around this morning. A sunny calm, clear day all the way from Kangerlussuaq to Summit. Two planes to summit in one day means the crew here is pretty busy shlepping gear around.

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Whooping and smiling after a smooth, easy landing at Summit

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Mike excited to be here too.

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Slow moving, heavy breathing caravan adjusts to high altitude.

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A trusty steed – the LC-130 has been in service since about 1956.

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Our accomodations – the arctic oven tent. In sunny weather these really live up to the name, despite temps in the mid -30’s upon our arrival, the inside of the tents were room temperature.

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Our cargo made it too! Note our sled in the background.

Though I’m pretty excited to get started organizing our sleds and gear, the delay while gear is moved about is probably a good thing. Summit is at a bit over 10,000 feet altitude, and actually has air pressure even lower than that – so adjusting from sea level can actually take some time. It drives me crazy to work slowly when we’ve just had a few weather days but LOTS of people get altitude sickness here – and I know I’ll have a headache soon. A quick walk across the room that leaves you breathing heavily reminds you how much less air there is. If we don’t start moving too fast right away, we can save ourselves a lot of discomfort.

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Headed over to the “big house.” The stations kitchen and dining area.

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Bye Bye LC-130

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A clearer view of the big house

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Inside the big house, cookies and water were waiting for us to get hydrated and encouraged to take it easy for awhile – lest we get bad altitude sickness.

We’re the first ones in for the season – and the people who wintered over are actually surprisingly well adjusted! Not even a wild look in their eyes, and who can complain about fresh baked bread and cookies. Thanks Summit crew!

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Moving bags summit style.

The rest of the evening will include us getting more adjusted and starting to get our gear pallet broken out as well as trying to adjust our plans for our few days of delay. The big question will be whether to wait up for our last compatriot, Nate – who is scheduled to arrive on the 27th, or head out with the three of us to make our fuel cache as planned.

7 thoughts on “Summit at Last

  1. Congratulations team! Looks fabulous. those dogs make me wish for more of my own. enjoy the sun and weather.

    • Glad to see you’ve made it to the start point! What an incredible trek that lies ahead! I will be following, and sharing it with my 6th grade class here in Unalaska. We are looking forward to the progress and the information you glean on your adventure!
      A piece for you while you’re on that monstrous chunk o’ ice:

      “The ice was here, the ice was there,
      The ice was all around:
      It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
      Like noises in a swound!”

      Hope you all are doing well, and best of luck!

      • Josh!

        Great to hear from you. We are delighted that you’re following along with your class! Once we get going into station building, snow pit measurements, and operating sampling equipment, we’ll be sure to include photos and descriptions to share with your 6th graders.

        I hope you and Missy are having a wonderful Spring out on the island. I’d love to see you both during the Summer season, Zandra and I will be running the ship again.

        More poems!
        Mike and SAGE team

  2. Looks like you’re having another awesome adventure. I’d like to place an order for 2 muskoxen tags and a generous allotment of caribou permits. Stay warm and find something cool to send me!!!!

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