Antarctic Deep Field Camp - 2013 & beyond

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What should I expect?

The proposed field camp would likely be similar to one from the 2010-11 season, called CTAM. This was located in Bowden Névé near the Beardmore Glacier, at a site occupied several times before and often known as the Beardmore Camp. The typical time frame of operation of such camps is early December to mid-late January. The Antarctic Sun profiled CTAM with links to some of the science projects. Camps like CTAM can support 40-70 people, including camp staff, pilots, mechanics and, of course, scientists. The proposed camp will likely be different in some ways, but for reference CTAM had the following:

  • Air support by fixed wing (LC130 and Twin Otter) and helicopters. (Note: These are not your personal flight machines! You must request the hours required to do your work in your proposal. The third day of the workshop is designed to help you with logistics planning.) Helicopters operate Monday through Saturday only and the flight range is on the order of 100 nautical miles from the camp (about 1 hour flying time).
  • Some field sites may also be accessible by snow machine, either as a daily commute or to set up a satellite camp. It is highly recommend that you employ a mountaineer if you intend to do a snow machine traverse.
  • Two heated science tents with power supply for recharging electronics, tables for 'office' use and places to organize and repack samples.
  • Dining facility with meals provided in exchange for 'house mouse duties', which means each science group takes their turn doing camp dishes and getting snow for the melters.
  • Showers and basic medical facilities.
  • 'Tent city' where individual mountain tents are set up for sleeping and your personal gear.
  • Camp staff + heavy equipment that assist with moving pallets of gear.
  • Science groups may stay at the camp and commute to their field sites or use the camp as a jumping off point for smaller (4-6 people) satellite camps. Satellite camps are commonly put in with multiple Twin Otter flights and provide easiest logistics if they are operating during all or part of the operation time of the larger camp.

It is difficult to estimate time lost for weather, mechanical, and scheduling issues for projects that require helicopter support, but an average of 20% (+/- 10%) is probably a good starting point for planning purposes. Keep in mind that the weather in camp may be fine, but there may be cloud over your field site or vice versa.

If you will be collecting materials that must remain unfrozen, you should note that in your proposal and preliminary logistics plans. This type of information is needed at the camp planning stage. Other deep field camps have collected samples that were stored under specific environmental conditions, so this should be possible.

Many science groups choose to employ professional mountaineers to help insure the safety of the field party. This should be included as a budget item as they are not 'freely' provided through the USAP.