These photos were taken in Greenland, while I was there to participate in the Greenland Ice Sheet Project #2 (GISP2), between the years 1989 and 1992. This isn't meant to be a scientific essay; rather, just a chance to see some of the scenery I enjoyed, and people I met, as as result of this experience.
If you have any questions of comments, please feel free to e-mail me at .
Greenland has some of the most beautiful fjords in the world. The air base at Sondrestrom was at the end of one (hence the name).
Wherever you are in coastal Greenland, the ice is never far.
With the huge ice volume, winter snow, and cool summer temperatures, water (in some form) is never in short supply. Greenland has uncounted numbers of still-pristine lakes.
Spring comes sometime in May; at least in Sonde. The snow starts to melt, plants start to grow, and the fjord begins to thaw.
Along with spring, the animals arrived. Unfortunately for this caribou, wolves are common in Greenland.
BUT...when I, and the rest of the opening crew, arrived, spring had not yet reached this part of the world.
The New York Air National Guard (109th TAG) delivered us to the summit. After flying in a jumpseat of a ski-equipped C-130, you'll never look at a plane quite the same way again! People look at me strangely when I say this, but I miss these planes.
At GISP2, you are sitting on top of 3050 meters (2 miles) of ice. With the cooling of the air (due to the huge thermal mass of the ice sheet), the camp is at an effective altitude of just under 15000 feet. So, you are having to function with only 2/3 of the oxygen which your body is used to.
One of the many adjustments to be made is the daylength. This final sunset occured on May 8th.
Ice in the upper atmosphere makes for some spectacular sights. This picture honestly doesn't capture the beauty of the solar rings and "sun dogs".
Sometimes the weather can be quite pleasant...
But there are other times, too.
The wind can do (or, perhaps, undo) amazing things at Summit.
But not everything the wind does is destructive!
In any instance, good weather or bad, the work goes on.
Being truly isolated with a small group of people tends to create a strong sense of cameraderie. It's like no other experience you can imagine.
This is Travis Larsen, who was responsible for building the protective drill dome. You can imagine that having a name like "Travis" is not like "Bob" or "Sue". The two of us spent seven weeks constantly turning around when someone was speaking to the "other Travis"!
Guess which one of us has the PhD?
I (among others) spent part of four summers in Greenland, from 1989 to 1992. It's cold, there's no TV, and you see the same 15 people all day every day. You work your rear end off 7 days a week, regularly soaking your long johns in sweat; yet you can't shower more than once a week. Your only contact with your family and friends is through the mail, which is only delivered every 3-4 weeks (when a C-130 comes).
Would I go back? In a heartbeat!!!
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Document last modified on 09/05/2004