On to the ice

Despite desperately hoping for a freak blizzard, Bernd transferred to Casey before we could set foot on the ice. Even though we knew this was likely, we all felt a little strange that he was leaving before the main work really began. Hannes and I didn’t let this detract from the excitement of our first full day on the ice. I do have to admit to feeling the pressure as we loaded the helicopters and headed out onto the Sørsdal for the first time. Working here is a very different experience to all other fieldwork I’ve done. To start with not only do we get flown out to the glacier but we fly between sites on the ice. Secondly, we go with two field training officers (FTOs) who are responsible for all of the safety and logistics. What this actually means is that we get to sit comfortably in a nice warm helicopter while Marty probes the area we want to work in!

Marty secured to the helicopter and belayed by Ian while securing the site.

I’m used to be fully responsible or at the very least contributing towards such safely decisions and so this was a very strange and slightly nerve wracking experience the first few times. This feeling was of course completely unfounded as all of the FTOs are highly experienced and qualified but relinquishing control is never an easy thing. I did soon get used to it though and was quite happy to let someone else expend the energy securing each new site.

Unpacking the cage pallet and setting up site one. Photo credit: Hayden Anderson

After all the preparation of the last few weeks the first day went pretty smoothly and all felt very natural once we got onto the ice. Hannes throughly enjoyed his first day working on a glacier!

All of our equipment is transported in cage pallets slung from the helicopter.
Pretty glad we don’t have to carry all this. Photo credit: Hayden Anderson


Hannes on ice!


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