It didn't take long to put my survival skills in practice. Thursday I was scheduled to fly.
The supervisor and I were flying to the mountain top after we dropped off Bob Zook and our other tech, Ron Hayes at Lake Bonney.
Approaching Lake Bonney (Thatís the helicopter blade at the top).
I'll let the rest of these speak for themselves.
The Lake Bonney Field Camp
As we neared the mountain top, the wind was too gusty, and the pilot was not able to use the normal helispot. Down the ridge he was able to get in, but it meant we had a 200 vertical foot climb to the site over a 1/4 mile in scree, and snow. Wouldn't have been bad, except that we had about 200 pounds of batteries, radios and antennas to carry up there.
We made first two trips carrying one of the two batteries each time. It was a clear day in the area, but the wind was blowing about 30 miles per hour. (We were flying in a bell 212, so it handled the wind quite well). The air temperature was about -10 F so the wind chill was in the brisk category!
It took us about three hours to finish the job. The helicopter arrived a little early to pick us up, and we had to hussle down the hill to catch our ride, so I didn't get a chance to take any photos from the top. It was beautiful!
The AStar picked us up, and took us to Marble Point. Marble is a refueling and staging station about 50 miles from McMurdo. The batteries went dead on the trip to Marble, and it was a little crowded inside the helicopter to fish out my spares.
Marble point is always staffed by a camp manager, and a cook, so we got a chance to warm up a little with a late hot lunch, and a great piece of apple pie. We had a couple of short projects there, and after the AStar brought Ron, and Bob down from the field camp, we were back in the 212 for the 40 minute trip back to McMurdo.
I was shooting through the helicopter window, so you might notice the scratches
A full day, but it was good to get back to town.
All in all, it was a good day, and I slept well that night. Burned just a few calories that day!