Sunday, October 12, 2008

Shoveling is good for you

My favorite graffiti scribbling on station is inside the Hypertats, where someone scrawled with a sharpie on one of the plywood walls, “Shoveling is good for you”.

The Hypertats is a series of four berthing modules out in Summer Camp, each named after a Flintstone - Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty. We used to have to dig them completely out at the end of each winter but now that they’re no longer being used, they just get more buried by snow drifts.

Shoveling is a constant activity at South Pole. The amount of snow falling as precipitation can be measured in a mere few inches but the amount accumulating as snow blown in from elsewhere is measured in feet. With our prevailing winds blowing in from grid north, snow can travel for hundreds of miles across the Antarctic plateau before it hits our buildings and settles down to create our drifts.

In the summertime, there’s an army of General Assistants, or GA’s, who tackle snow shoveling all over the station. Over the winter, we let most things drift over except for doorways and other things that we have to access. Then before station opening, we unleash our own small army of shovelers (us) to uncover the buildings that will be used during the summer.

The other day I helped out Katie C. dig out these milvans where some construction supplies are kept. Yes, that’s a metal Christmas tree on top on one. It was a nice sunny day in the -70s and we had fun shoveling and gossiping as we girls like to do.

And yesterday we did more shoveling, this time digging out the construction Jamesways. Kiwi Paul and Katie worked on this one:

and I started on this one:

It got a bit more blustery as we worked and my hand warmers didn’t last the hour and a half that I was out there but Paul and Katie got their Jamesway doorway all dug out.

There’s plenty more shoveling to do around here, as well as other activities to get the station ready for our first plane in less than 2 weeks. Hopefully these winds won’t blow all of shoveled snow back and obliterate our hard work!


At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing is too trivial,you will need those shoveling skills when you get to Hyde Park NY.

At 9:39 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Greetings to the Southpole team,

I will be coming on the ice on Feb 15th. Supposed to help with mechanical inspections. Looking forward to it even though I get arround snow shoveling this winter. Guess not :)
Living in Anchorage,AK that's what you do for a good portion of the year.
I could propably help you guys building iglos (no inspections for those)




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