At the height and heart of the Greenland ice sheet Summit sits at 10,530ft (~3,200m), surrounded by thousands of square miles of ice. The great flat white. Away from the station it looks much like the South Pole, or Byrd.
Established in 1988 to support the Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 (GISP2) ice core Summit now supports a wide range of seasonal and long term monitoring projects. It also serves as an important site to test equipment heading to Antarctica. Today the station is maintained by CH2M Hill Polar Services, and through them, Colorado based Polar Field Services (PFS). CH2M Hill’s official site gives a good overview of the station.
Summit consists of three main buildings: the Big House, the Green House, and the S.O.B. or Science Operation building (the shop). In addition, there is the Temporary Atmospheric Watch Observatory (TAWO) and the Mobile Science Facility (MSF) which are used year-round. During the summer a number of seasonal structures and a “tent city” are erected to support the larger population.
Unlike the South Pole’s distinct winter and summer seasons, the year at Summit is divided into three Phases: Feb-Jun, Jun-Nov, and Nov-Feb. The winter crew is a tiny 5 to 6 people: manager, mechanic, three science techs, and sometimes a heavy equipment operator in the spring. During the peak summer season, Apr-Aug, a medic, cook, cargo coordinator, and field coordinator are added to the station staff. With science groups and construction crews the summer population can reach 50, though the average summer population is closer to 30 people.