First day of real work

Now I’m back and finally in front of good internet connections.  It’s time to tell what  happened during last week of our expedition:

Monday 15th- Gamlemetten, still windy, -15.

We begin this day at 6:30. The mission today is to access Olafsbreen by scooter and to plant some stakes. It would be wise for me to do a snow pit also. Each of my muscles hurts me and I can barely get warm. Furthermore, it is windy and the top of Beerenberg is invisible, it seems even the stormy weather yesterday! One should really have faith to believe the weather forecast announced an improvement in conditions during the day!

We load our skies, our boots, our boxes for storage of samples, our backpacks and survival gear. And here we are again left on the snowy slopes of Beerenberg.  After the storm this weekend, nival conditions are much more heterogeneous. Some parts are rocky completely devoid of snow while in other places, mainly in the valleys, we bog down with the scooter and sledge. We decide to take the central route (midway between the two shelters) that we had last year preferred. Similarly, Johan drives the scooter and makes trips to locate the road with John, put the sled, and comes back to give a lift to Anna and me. Slowly we climbed the mountain.  The snow drift is strong. This does not give me frankly wanted to put on my chemistry uniform and freeze my hands and face in a snow pit.

White out at the depot. Johan leaves John and Anna in the middle of the slope, they will install 4 stakes. Then Johan picks me up at the depot and leads me higher, at 1350m, where the slope is steeper at the foot of the crater. Miraculously, we leave the thick fog and find the summit of the volcano in all its majesty. Johan goes back again to help Anna and John lowest in the cloud. I find myself alone on the top of the mountain, above the clouds, Jan Mayen and the world.

Measuring snow density

I immediately began to dig my snow pit. The sun is part. Nothing better to give me the heart to work. And digging is the best way to warm up!

Anna returns with the guys. I can take my lunch break and the men do the same and go back to drill and install other stakes. Anna and I begin sampling the pit snow which is 1.80m deep.

Sampling the snow. Emilie in white chemistry uniform.

At 17h, the samples are packaged and stored in the pit. The morning haze has completely disappeared. With John and Johan, we put on our skis back down to Olafsbreen. I had previously never really skied off piste and even less on the slopes of a volcano! The snow is rather slow but this is not a problem to move on the slope to 45 degrees. What a fantastic feeling of freedom and what a great reward for this successful first day of work!


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