Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Field training

View from within the crevasse
Field training is part of Antarctic research activities. The ice sheet is not a safe place: as the ice slowly moves from the center towards the edge, it cracks and opens up at the surface due to tension, especailly when the ice moves across an obstacle (subglacial bump or mountain). Those cracks, called crevasses, are usually covered by snow, which means that they are hidden. Most of the areas we will visit are safe, meaning that crevasses are not present, but one should be prepared.

We went to a crevassed area 9 km from PEA to do crevasse training and rescue. Each of us was lowered safely in the crevasse, 20m down and then pulled up by two simple techniques, one involving a pully system anchored on a skidoo, another technique using two skidoos, in which the pully was done by the second skidoo. The latter goes fast of course :-)

The crevasse itself was very impressive, with beautiful snow crystals inside, as well as very silent (compared to the buzz at the surface). The field training ended with the immobilization and transport of a person that was injured (fictively of course, and perfectly mis-en-scène by Bryn) to PEA.


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