Last week, three riggers, including me, went to Mt. Erebus. Our job was to put up a 20 tower and then mount a 300 watt wind generator on top of the tower. We had tried to do this project a few weeks before but it was one cancellation after another. So from sea level up to 12,000 feet we went, in two separate helos. As soon as we arrived and started to organize our gear the clouds came in and we had doubts as to whether we were going to be able to leave that night. There was the Lower Erebus Hut not too far below us, but we weren't too keen on spending the night 12,000 feet higher than we had been that morning.
We had a little time to spare so I took a hike up to the crater rim. I could not see much, but I could see the steep drop that eventually would lead to a bubbling molten lava lake. It was neat to be on the rim of the most southern active volcano in the world and to be at the top of Ross Island! On the way up and down I passed many interesting frozen lava bombs that sometimes reminded me of ringwraiths from the lord of the rings.
We finished the job, had the generator working and everything packed up and ready to go. Though we could see downwards a few miles, we were in a cloud and the helos could not reach us. Eventually both helo pilots told at two separate times, told us to grab what we could and get to the helo as fast as possible. The helos can make their own cloud as they take off at that height and with a lot of moisture in the air, and we could hear the importance of hurrying in the pilot's voice. We had to leave a bunch of gear on the mountain but these were recovered a few days later. Next day...to Cape Royds!