Weather

We’ve been warmer than Boulder during our stay; several times we were in the 20’s while Boulder was experiencing single digits.  Right now, though, it is 7 or 10 degrees F (depending on which thermometer you believe), with winds of about 15 knots.  The National Weather Service wind-chill table tells me that this feels like -7.  (The internet tells me that it is 32 in Boulder right now, with a wind chill of 27.)  I think that equivalent conditions feel colder here because we are at sea level (at an elevation of about 20 meters or 60 feet, actually) and the denser air has more heat capacity.

It’s also snowing here, which is not that common.  Here’s a comparison between “severe clear” conditions last Saturday morning, and conditions an hour ago (at about 11 pm.)

Tomorrow at 1005 we’re scheduled to fly to visit three gauges: one just east of the Commonwealth Glacier, one at the lower end of the Wright Valley (the valley on the other side of the Asgard Range to the north) and a third, also in the Wright Valley, just below lake Vanda.  I’m pretty certain we won’t fly if conditions don’t improve–even if flight safety is acceptable on the way out, I don’t think NSF wants to take a chance that they might not be able to come back and get us.

Which brings up another topic:  Anytime you are dropped off by helicopter (and, presumably by other means) and you are not at an established camp, you must take from the helicopter one emergency pack for each two people.  Each emergency pack contains a tent and two light sleeping bags, a stove, fuel and “food.”  It will keep you alive.  The helo techs at Helo Ops load the appropriate number of packs on the aircraft depending on the mission.  We will take two off tomorrow for our three souls.

I say “will” because on that severe clear Saturday I forgot to take ours out of the helo, when we spent about 45 minutes on the ground servicing the Bohner Stream Gauge.  Even though we were just a few miles from the Bonney Lake Camp, the helo had to return to drop off the bag, by which time we were done with our work and could just climb in.  Even so, I was reminded of the rules and got a little black mark.  I think it is little, anyway, but I know the second one will be written boldly.  Experience has shown that there are good reasons for this requirement.

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