Today the expedition arrived at the site M1, where the first hole will be drilled through the ice shelf. The trip here was challenging.
For four days, the expedition was slowly making its way though Jutulstraumen, from points F5-F17 along our pre-planned route. This part of the route runs takes us along a narrow passage between the crevassed margin of Jutulstraumen and an ice rise to our east. Satellite photos show the area is filled with crevasses; the radar "sniffer" mounted ahead of the first vehicle confirms this.
Therefore, the pace had to be reduced. Before each stage, the lead vehicle has to do a reconnaissance with the radar to find the safest route, so that the rest of the train can follow behind. Good visibility is also a prerequisite for driving, since crevasse detection is based on surface cues as well as the radar. We have daily contact with a meteorologist at the German station Neumaier, to make sure we have good weather for the following day's driving.
At F11 one of the sled runners went into a narrow, longitudinal crevasse, not far from the nearby ice rise. The sled had to unloaded, pulled out, and then loaded up again, in a safe and secure manner. All this takes time!
However, this part of the trip has demonstrated that our security program is going as it should. Those who have the responsibility for safety have had a hard few days, and have shown that they can do their job. Now they get a chance to rest a little at M1, before the glaciologists go out on their first side-traverse.