Field Update: Nov. 5, 2010

The winds died down overnight and the morning was clear and crisp again.

The camp was in good shape, although with a bit more drifted snow than the day before. The PB was still fairly frozen, but since we weren’t going to drive that back to McMurdo we just left it where we parked it during the whiteout the day before. We are going to try to make it back to McMurdo today in one shot, meeting the NZ traverse on their way out from Scott Base to the Shear Zone.

The PB team is going to make the trip being towed in the two sleeping containers due to limited space in the cabs of the prime movers and the anticipated speed of the planned trip back to the base. We’ll have a window in the side of each container, but pretty much we’re just cargo for this trip. We start off early and after the first strong jolts, as the tractors get moving, the ride is fairly pleasant (although a bit noisy) and we skim over the surface of the ice shelf as we’re pulled along. The time flies by and before long we’re at the Shear Zone again, crossing over as we head back to McMurdo.

Before long we hear over the radio that the NZ Traverse has been spotted in the distance ahead of us. They are driving two Caterpillar D6 bulldozers and a Haggalund, which are transporting the rest of the Coulman High advance team, including Tamsin Falconer, Jeremy Ridgen, Hedley Berge, Tristan Bennett (all from NZ), Darren Blythe, Graham Roberts and Russell Freeman (all from the US), on their way to Coulman High in our wake.

We stop to greet them, and share information as we prepare to transfer our berthing modules to their traverse, and we take one of their containers for us to ride in the rest of the way back to Scott Base.

The USAP traverse team coordinates their plan, hooks up the NZ module to a Caterpillar tractor, and we’re ready to go again. We climb back in and continue on our way as the Kiwi’s make their way north to Coulman High.

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