Field Notes: The Polar Field Services Newsletter

GrIT Update: All downhill from here!

Three GrIT tractors pull a load of fuel and cargo up the last long hill (called “Dog Lady Hill” by the GrIT team) before reaching the ice sheet interior. Photo: Galen Dossin

Three GrIT tractors pull a load of fuel and cargo up the last long hill (called “Dog Lady Hill” by the GrIT team) before reaching the ice sheet interior. Photo: Galen Dossin

After launching on the overland Greenland traverse, the GrIT operations and SAGE research teams made it over the last steep hill this weekend. The team is upbeat and moving forward, as GriT Project Manager Geoff Phillips writes in his latest report (from Saturday, April 12), excerpted below. 

On Saturday the Greenland Inland Traverse (GrIT) Team reported clearing a major hurdle: towing all sleds over the top of Dog Lady Hill. This is the steepest and last significant hill to climb en route to Summit Station.

The team has been double heading each sled since pulling away from the transition. They report that most of the sleds are pulling as expected, based on the 2012 season. However the DuraBase cargo sled is proving unusually difficult to pull. And, to make matters more interesting, SAGE is reporting very soft snow ahead, which could make pulling more difficult.

The crew is having a myriad of expected and some unexpected equipment troubles. For example, the Tucker blew a seal climbing Dog Lady Hill. This was repaired and the Tucker is back in service. The crew said there is nothing unusual about the issues: they are pushing the equipment to its limits, and the troubles they are encountering are minor in scale.

Now it’s all downhill from here—or at least no longer uphill!

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.

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