Field Notes: The Polar Field Services Newsletter

GrIT Report: Cold, mechanicals slow progress

Double hauling a load of  fuel bladders during the 2012 GrIT. Photo: Pat Smith

Double hauling a load of fuel bladders during the 2012 GrIT. Photo: Pat Smith

If it can break, it has. With Summit Station practically in sight, the GrIT operations team has been beleaguered by mechanical issues, reports GrIT Project Manager Geoff Phillips in the most recent situation report:

The crew is not sure who brought the curse with them, but they are all tired of fixing equipment instead of operating it.

The temperatures dropped down to -37F on Monday, which contributed to the battery troubles but also made towing sleds very difficult. Most of the sleds needed to be double hauled for a few miles before they were warm enough to switch back to single heading. With a combination of single, double, and even triple heading the loads, the crew is able to make about 20 miles per day. This is significantly less than the 30 miles they were hoping for, but mechanical troubles have been more time consuming than originally anticipated.

GrIT is currently 36 miles out of Summit with all the equipment they have. At the current pace, they are expecting to arrive on Friday afternoon, tired, dirty, ready for a break, and happy for some fine dining Summit style.

Is Robin Davies making repairs or dinner? Either way, Summit Station can't come too fast! Photo: Shep Vail (2012 GrIT)

Is Robin Davies making repairs or dinner? Either way, Summit Station can’t come too fast! Photo: Shep Vail (2012 GrIT)

The Arctic Research Support and Logistics Program within the National Science Foundation’s Division of Polar Programs funds the Greenland Inland Traverse. CH2M HILL Polar Services and Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratories are working together with the NSF to develop the traverse infrastructure and route to Summit Station. The 2014 spring traverse delivers fuel and cargo to Summit Station, continues efforts to optimize mobility, and provides a research platform for Zoe Courville’s NSF-funded scientific research project.

Monitor GrIT and SAGE progress here. 
Follow the SAGE science traverse via their blog. For more field notes coverage of GrIT, click here.