Date: 11/25/03
Latitude: 90 degrees South
Longitude: 0 degrees East
Temperature: -40°C( -40°F)
Wind speed: 5 knots
Wind Chill: -55°C( -67°F)
Wind direction: Grid 095
Elevation: Not Given
Kilometers traveled: 0

Notes on daily life:
By Tom reports from Amundsen Scott South Pole Station:

We spent today organizing our gear for the traverse and building the new 2-inch drill. You may recall that Dan and I assembled the drill in McMurdo last week to make sure that all the necessary parts had arrived and that the drill functioned as advertised. Today, we unpacked the drill here at South Pole and re-assembled it. We will tow it a few kilometers away from the base to drill a test core tomorrow. Construction was much faster this time around as a result of (a) our experience last week with the drill and (b) the cold temperatures, which makes handling metal very uncomfortable. The hardest part was keeping track of all the small screws that hold the drill frame together. Today, it took us most of the afternoon to get the frame assembled. See the photos below for a few pictures of the assembly process.

Fortunately, this is the last time we will have to build the drill frame for quite a while. We attached the frame to a Nansen sled (a wooden sled about ten feet long and 3 feet wide, named for the Norwegian explorer Nansen) where it will remain for the rest of the traverse. The Nansen sled with the drill frame will travel from site to site on top of a much larger Berko sled with all of our other science gear. At each site, we will tow the Nansen sled to our selected drilling site with all of the other necessary gear (solar panels, batteries, drill head, core barrel, etc...). Consequently, we will save ourselves a lot of time by keeping the drill frame assembled, and avoid having to deal with nuts and bolts in cold weather any more than is necessary. In the photos below, you can see both the drill frame and Nansen sled, with our larger (and currently empty) science sled behind.

While Dan and I were busy with the drill, the other team members were organizing and packing our other gear. Now that both tractors are up and running, it is much easier to move the pallets of supplies from one place to another. Andrea spent most of the day sorting though our food, and storing food and kitchen gear in the kitchen module. Several of the other members spent the day getting the other big sleds ready to be loaded. Charlie McClellan and Larry Gullingsurd have been working all week on making repairs to the sled runners. Today, they reattached the last pair of runners, and the sleds were then ready to be loaded. Dan took some photos of the team loading up fuel drums onto our big Aalener fuel sled this afternoon. The surface area of the sled is big enough to hold 25 barrels. Eventually, we will stack the fuel barrels two levels high (the ones on top will be empty).

The other big news this week was that Dan and I moved out of our posh room in the new, elevated South Pole Station building into some decidedly less posh accommodations. It turns out that several 'DVs'(Distinguished Visitors) arrived on station this week. Among these DVs was a crew from National Geographic Television, who are putting together a piece on living and working in Antarctica. One of the crewmembers came by after dinner to set up a time to take a tour of our traverse vehicles and preparations. They will come by on Friday to talk with us and take some footage of our living quarters and sleds. The LGT just might end up on National Geographic TV in a few months, you never know!

click on a photo to view a full size version
CATs   Drill on the Nansen sled   Dan and Tom with the Drill   Drill sled
Preparing sleds   Loading fuel on the sledge   Full fuel sledge   New Room