Up to Mt. Erebus last week to replace 12 batteries that did not survive the wintertime. They were left connected to power some science experiments at 12,000 feet but something went amis. (Strange, unexpected things happen in the wintertime...). So from sea level to 12,000 feet we go in about half an hour. It is an amazing helicopter ride with Mt. Erebus looming larger and larger through the front windows.
It is typically cold and windy up there so we had tried for many days to get up there. The first day was out due to weather. The second day we went to the helo pad and then were put on a two hour delay. Then it was too "warm" at the camp on the third day so the density altitude for the helo to land safely, so I was bumped to save some weight. The helo was going to come back for me but Nick, my partner in crime who went up, discovered that all batteries had not survived the winter, so I went back to the shop to grab and test and package 12 new batteries. On the fourth day, I think it was, I made it up.
The camp is awesome. Stunning views and cold and high. Solar panels, two of my favorite types of "wind birds" the Air X type we had on the top of Crazy Horse's mizzen mast!
The camp solar/wind system was put in many years ago and now resembles some sort of rats nest that we are trying to improve. There is only so much that can be done though in the 4-6 hours that they'll let us work up here before altitude sickness starts to threaten. But the views are fabulous looking over McMurdo Sound and out into the Ross Sea. It is especially exciting to be climbing the towers to check out one wind bird in a cold wind at 12,000 feet. Feels kind of extreme, like a spacewalk. (Naturally I love it.) Maybe someday I'll be able to do that sort of things 200 miles up!
|Lots to do...|
Once our work was done, it was time to do a little exploring of the surrounding area. Beautiful formations called fumerols, where warm vents from the inside of the mountain reach the surface and condense and create amazing structures with the snow. There is also a helicopter crash site from some time in the 50's or 60's that is still there. Amazing history of this place.
|Where's my Ton Ton.|
On the way home we could see the end of the beautiful peninsula where McMurdo Station sits. I had the helo-tech take a picture for me as we meandered back down to sea level and oxygen rich air.
|A little closer to town.|
|Town, looking very industrial as it always does.|
|My shop desk in a state of disrepair.|