Category Archives: Kangerlussuaq

Welcome to Summit!

Welcome to Summit Station!
72°35’46.4″N 38°25’19.1″W, 10,530 ftSummit_2015(18)

The sky is a crisp blue, the snow a brilliant white. The drifting is impressive; some buildings are still buried to the roof. The air is thin. It’s barely cold and all is well.

We assembled in Schenectady, New York. Early the next morning, the sky still dark, a bus picks us up in front of the hotel. Bags are thrown in the back of a pick-up and we ride to the Air National Guard base where the C-130 hercs await.
Loaded into the planes, earplugs in, big coats tucked under arms, we settle into the cargo net seats. A quick stop in Goose Bay Canada to refuel; the view from the tarmac is bleak…hinting a sense of the arctic with spindly trees and a briskness to the air. We wait in the small passenger area and admire the full wall world map. The spot marking Goose Bay is rubbed blank. Then it’s onward to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland.

Boarding the Herc in Scotia, NY

Boarding the Herc in Scotia, NY

Kanger. Wide bare hills without anything for scale stretch along the silty fjord. The glacier is farther inland – just in view from the top of the hills. We have an extra day and I rode one of the bikes up Black Hill, overlooking town and the fjord. There are satellite dishes and radio antennas, but beyond those is the wide-open rolling land, ground down by the ebb and flow of the glaciers. A muskox picks its way through the tundra, stopping to graze. I sit in the lee of a boulder and soak it in – my last view of this alive world.

The KISS (Kangerlussaq International Science Support) buildings.

The KISS (Kangerlussaq International Science Support) buildings.

Kangerlussuaq, Greenland.

Kangerlussuaq, Greenland.

Sondrestrom Fjord

Sondrestrom Fjord

Boarding the

The “Drift Buster” herc that brought us to Summit

Long hours spent on Hercs...

Long hours on Hercs…

The first week was spent turning over with the Phase I crew. They’ve been here since February and were keen to go home. Summit is in the full swing of summer. Herc flights, Twin Otters, a remote camp, long-term research projects and short-term campaigns. There’s a lot to take in, but there are a lot of familiar faces – people I’ve worked with in West Antarctica, at the South Pole, or here at Summit in previous years. It’s good to be back and should be an interesting season!

Today is June 21 – the Solstice: the longest day of the year, Mid-winter for those in the Antarctic, mid-summer for those of us here. At 72° North we’re above the Arctic circle, the sun spiraling around above the horizon 24 hours a day now, but unlike the South Pole where they only have one sunrise and one sunset a year, here the sun moves gradually through the sky. The last sunset was on May 5, 2015. The next sunset will be on August 7, 2015! Check this page out for more solar/lunar data. (http://www.timeanddate.com/sun/greenland/summit-camp)

Summit_Solstice_2015

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Filed under Arctic, Greenland, Kangerlussuaq, Summit Station

Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

3hrs 15min to the North Pole

3hrs15min to the North Pole

 

Kangerlussuaq, Kanger, Bluie West-8, Sondrestrom, Sonde, Søndre Strømfjord…The coastal hub for US operations is tucked back in Greenland’s longest fjord. Established in 1941 by the US military it is now a commercial and air hub for West Greenland. The small town (~550 people) is surrounded by undulating glacially scoured hills where muskox and caribou roam. No trees grow here, just scrub and grasses.

 

For science support and researchers coming from the US this is the point of entry. The town is comprised of a few houses, old military barracks, an airport, and a few other buildings. The Kangerlussuaq International Science Support, aka KISS, hosts researchers from around the world. There’s a very small grocery store, a cafeteria at the airport, and the Polar Bear restaurant with thai, muskox, and anything fried. It’s a small community and nearly everyone smiles and waves as they pass on the road. There is quite a lot of research done in the immediate area of Kanger and at sites on the ice sheet not as far away as Summit.
The Summit crew however usually spends a day or two getting the required gear and making sure everything is lined up for the season. There are some good hiking routes in the area and beautiful lake Ferguson and great views from prominent Black Ridge. In past seasons I’ve arrived in April when the ground is still covered in snow, and the wind is bitingly cold. This time we arrived in the warmth of summer – luckily just past peak mosquito season. The light lingered and it was bright well past 10pm. We are definitely now in the land of the midnight sun.

We spent two nights in Kanger, filling the day between with orientation, training, gathering gear, and stretching our legs on walks around town – enjoying the last bits of green and brown, of birds and bugs and people. Next stop the flat white – Summit Station!

The K.I.S.S. building that houses researchers and support staff.

The K.I.S.S. building that houses researchers and support staff.

Black Ridge and the old barracks

Black Ridge and the old barracks

Søndre Strømfjord - Kanger is located on the left side of the wide sandy area along the river where it meets the fjord

Søndre Strømfjord – Kanger is located on the left side of the wide sandy area along the river where it meets the fjord

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Filed under Arctic, Greenland, Kangerlussuaq