Date: 01/20/04
Latitude: 77.78 degrees South
Longitude: 158.74 degrees East
Temperature: -28°C( -18°F)
Wind speed: 4 knots
Wind Chill: -35°C( -31°F)
Wind direction: not given
Elevation: 8,000 feet
Kilometers traveled: 2469

Notes on daily life:
By Dan

Our first day at Taylor Dome turned out to be amazing! The sky was totally clear and the Sun shone intensely, it felt quite warm despite the low temperature. We have an amazing view of several beautiful peaks from the Trans-Antarctic Mountains. Perhaps the most spectacular of these is Mount Crean from the Lashley Range. It is a real relief for our eyes to have something to look at on the horizon after seven weeks of almost completely flat whiteness!

Where we are parked there are still a few short flags visible; these are marking various caches and equipment that were left over from the old Taylor Dome Camp. Taylor Dome Camp has been used on and off for science since 1991. Originally, the flags were secured 12 feet high, but over the past 12 years the snow has accumulated to the point where only a couple of feet are left visible above the surface. The central metal survey pole (number 628) from the original Taylor Dome grid is still visible; the grid was installed to measure elevation, accumulation and ice flow.

Tom and I packed up and unhitched the science sled, we are planning to tow it 15 km away from camp to the south side of the dome - the reason is that the accumulation is much higher there. By early evening we were packed and ready to go, we drove out in the forked CAT to our proposed drill site. We stopped every 0.2 miles along the way and placed a marker flag - we do this in case the weather turns nasty. Upon arrival at the site we set up a Scott tent as an emergency shelter, this was also a precaution against bad weather. Matt drove out to the drill site on a snowmobile at midnight. He did this in order to collect the forked CAT; he will need this to dismantle the trains in the morning. After Matt had left in the CAT we started work and stayed out drilling ice core and digging snow pits through the night.

Date: 01/23/04
Latitude: 77.51 degrees South
Longitude: 166.40 degrees East
Temperature: -6°C( -15°F)
Wind speed: 9 knots
Wind Chill: -12°C(10°F)
Wind direction: not given
Elevation: not given
Kilometers traveled: 2469

Notes on daily life:
By Dan

click on a photo to see it full size
The Team Aboard the Herc at last Herc view 3
Herc view  4 Herc view  6 Herc View 7

Last night the wind speed increased to over 20 knots and there seemed to be
clouds gathering on the horizon, the prospect of leaving the field on time
seemed bleak. This morning the wind had dropped to almost zero and the sky was
totally clear – we have been so lucky with the weather this year!

We phoned McMurdo to confirm our flight and then we had a few hours to finish the winterizing of the trains and collect up all our personal gear. We packed up all our sleep kits and clothing bags and strapped them onto the fourth air force pallet. Then we dragged all our personal hand-carry bags out to the skyway using the snowmobile and a Nansen sled. We were expecting our plane to be equipped with JATO because we had four large pallets weighing in at around 12,000 pounds total. When the Herc arrived we were concerned to see that it did not have any JATO onboard; if the plane could not lift off then we would have
to dump one of the pallets to lose some weight. Nevertheless, we loaded all four pallets and quickly winterized the tractors.

We climbed on board the plane and strapped ourselves in - not really expecting to get off the ground. The LC-130 pilot did an amazing job and managed to lift off on the first attempt– we were finally on our way home and we all cheered!

The flight back from Taylor Dome over the Trans-Antarctic Mountains was spectacular; we all had great views of the mountains, glaciers and Dry Valleys. We arrived in McMurdo around 11:00 and all immediately took lovely warm showers after climbing out of our dirty clothes – what a luxury!

The LGT - ITASE traverse was a complete success, we accomplished 100% of our original goals and some extra ones too. Below is a brief overview of our accomplishments:

  1. November 30th 2003 - Left the South Pole headed for AGO4
  2. NICO - Located and flagged the ‘lost’ AWS
  3. LGT1 - Located and collected 7 bundles from our first fuel drop
  4. ITASE-03-1 - Drilled first chemistry ice core
  5. LGT2 - Located and collected 7 bundles from our second fuel drop
  6. AGO4 - Remediated all retro cargo
    • Built and re-groomed skiway
    • Located and collected 14 bundles from third fuel drop
    • Cached fuel drums for Twin Otters
    • Retro’d science instrument for Stanford University
  7. ITASE-03-2 - Sampled two 1-meter snowpits and one 2-meter snowpit
  8. Began to collect and take down seismic sites on our way North
  9. ITASE-03-3 - Drilled second chemistry ice core
  10. TAMCAMP - Arranged cargo sleds to carry Megadunes equipment
    - Prepared site for return and cleanup
  11. ITASE-03-4 - Sampled one 2-meter snowpit
  12. Megadunes - Built a camp for 2 science groups: Severinghaus and Scambos
    - Built and groomed skiway
  13. ITASE-03-5 - Drilled two beta cores for Scambos
    - Drilled third chemistry ice core
    - Drilled fourth chemistry ice core
    - Sampled two 1-meter snowpits
  14. TAMCAMP - Returned to TAMCAMP to clean up site
    - Retro’d two Hercs full of cargo (~25,000 pounds total weight)
    - Cached fuel drums
    - Emptied fuel bladder
    - Built and groomed skiway
  15. ITASE-03-4 - Returned to drill fifth chemistry ice core
    - Sampled 1-meter snowpit
  16. ITASE-03-6 - Drilled sixth chemistry ice core
  17. Seismic Center - Re-cached fuel and added 10 drums
  18. N060 - Located and collected 6 bundles from our fourth fuel drop
  19. N036 - Located and collected 6 bundles from our fifth fuel drop
    - Received news of Long Duration Balloon (LDB-TRACER) pickup
  20. TRACER - Retrieved LDB science package and 150-foot diameter parachute
  21. Taylor Dome - Re-surveyed original camp and mapped new coordinates
    - Built new skyway closer to camp (old one buried 8 feet)
    - Packed four pallets
    - Winterized buildings, cargo, sleds and tractors
  22. ITASE-03-7 - Drilled seventh chemistry ice core
    - Sampled 1-meter snowpit
  23. During our drive back from AGO4 we retrieved a total of 17 seismic sites
  24. Surface snow samples were collected every ~30km from South Pole to Taylor Dome
  25. January 23rd 2004 - Left the Taylor Dome and arrived back in McMurdoI
I would like to thank Matt Kippenhan, John Sale, James Meinert, Lynn Peters, Andrea Isgro, Tim Watson, Audrey Huerta and Tom Neumann for making the whole traverse the success that it was and enjoyable at the same time. I would also like to thank Ann Zielinski for all her hard work and for keeping the daily logs up to date on the website.