Wednesday, October 12, 2011

(un)Happy Camper School

New field members (or those who have been absent from the U.S. Antarctic Program for 5 or more years) are required to take a two-day survival training class on the ice, and sleep one night in snow trenches, igloos, and bivouac shelters that they build. This "Happy Camper" program teaches you to be smart and avoid rescue situations. For some it's a fun experience; for others it's a nightmare ...

Conditions in McMurdo make me think that the four B-043 team members in the class will be unhappy campers tonight.

Henry Kaiser took this IR picture of me checking outside conditions from the comfort of the Crary Lab. Wind-blown snow obscured the view, and I could feel the cold oozing through the window. (Ooops, that statement will get my thermodynamics prof turning in his grave ... OK, it's heat transferring from the air surrounding the window that I'm perceiving.)

Everyone in B043 will certainly learn a lesson tonight.


  1. Update at 10PM: the wind has calmed and it's now a balmy -19C (-2F). Sleep tight ...

  2. Dr. Sam,
    The training class might be a nightmare for me if I were there. The weather outside is atrocious. Have fun and safe journey!! Nighty-night.

  3. Update - Everyone did a GREAT job! No one was hurt or frost-nipped. All came back tired and hungry, but Happy (and smarter) Campers.