Once again I am returning to the ice; North again to Summit Station (72°35’46.4″N 38°25’19.1″W) in the heart of the Greenland ice sheet. My post from last July (here) gives a more thorough background and history.
I started at Summit as a field coordinator before I began working in Antarctica. This time however, I’ll be in the role of Summit Station Site Supervisor, aka Camp Manager, from June-October. It will be an interesting season as we will arrive in mid summer – with maximum population, flights, and research in full swing. By August though, things should start settling down as we prepare to close for winter. In late August the last herc will depart leaving just 5 of us as a skeleton crew to maintain the station and the year round projects until mid-October when we turn over to the next crew.
The seasons and turnover at Summit is a little more complicated than at the South Pole. The core crew is comprised of a Manager, Mechanic, and three Science Technicians. These positions work three seasons, or “phases.” Phase I from Feb-Jun, Phase II Jun-Oct, and Phase III Oct-Feb. During the busy summer from April through August the camp staff is augmented with a Cook, Medic, Heavy Equipment Operator, Cargo Coordinator, and Field Coordinator. Construction crews generally come up for two roughly 6-week seasons at the beginning and end of summer.
Training began a few weeks ago with Tower Rescue and Wilderness First Responder certifications. As there isn’t a medic on site from August through April everyone is required to have some medical background.
And so begins deployment…from the NY Air National Guard base in Scotia, NY on a 6-7 hour LC-130 Herc flight to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. We’ll have a few days in “Kanger” for some additional training and then it’s onward on another 2-3 hour Herc flight to Summit Station!