Snow School I, as it is formally called. I've been told I have the best job on the continent. And so I get sent to snow school right away. Soon we were out on the ice shelf putting up mountain tents, Scott tents (the tall pyramidal ones) making snow walls with wood saws and then making a quinzee, which eventually turns out to be an above ground snow cave. Twenty of us, all dressed in red.
The quinzee was made rapid-style by piling all of our bags under a tarp, then we all shovelled snow on it for a half hour or so, then we packed it down with the underside of our shovels, then let it settle, and finally I made the entrance with another guy while someone else went in on the opposite side to retrieve all the bags. When I went to sleep it was -10 F outside and it stayed above zero in the quinzee...not above freezing, but above zero.
Today, for part two of snow school, we did scenarios. The first, after splitting into groups of ten, was to find a lost person in a whiteout - who supposedly went out the outhouse and was overdue. So after our five minutes organizing ourselves and coming up with a plan, we put white buckets over our heads to simulate the whiteout. We tied one end of a rope to the building then went out holding each other's hands as well as the rope and began to trace an arc across the front side of the building. Thankfully we (by "we" I mean "my feet") were able to find the "person" which was a huge bag stuffed with a sleeping bag among other things.
The second scenario told us that our Piston Bulley caught fire thus taking away our VHF radio, while a storm was coming in. Our tasks were to get a tent set up, build a snow wall, get water on the stove, and communicate with "Mac Ops" (McMurdo Operations) with the HF radio. I, of course, went to the radio with a few others. We set up the antenna, similar to the one that hangs in our backyard in Sherborn - and that I hope to transmit to later this "summer," then plugged in all the cords, then made contact. It was quite fun.
That's all for now. Day off tomorrow, Sunday. Found out today that in early November I will be going to the Taylor Dome on the Polar Plateau! I'm going for a few weeks to help dig out buried fuel caches. After two weeks, me and another GA will be repaced by two more GA's. It is supposed to be cold and windy there!
Thanks for reading! And don't forget that I am still interesting in what's going on with all of your lives!