Frequent storms and whiteouts can keep us camp-bound
for days at a time. During those times we keep busy with
lectures, reading, data analysis, and camp repairs. When
the storm breaks we're often presented with spectacular
views such as this one at Camp 10.
Speaking of storms and whiteouts -- I once spent 5 days
stormed in with 3 others at this little camp. Measuring
only 8' x 10' and with only one small window for light,
it was a welcome relief when the storm abated. Several
years ago this building was completely buried by snow for
two years before it melted out and we were able to find it again.
Here, one of the members of the Program is taking
advantage of a spectacular day to get in some academic
reading at Camp 17. Because this camp is located
on a high ridge near Juneau, it often is storm-bound
with visibility less than 100 meters. Many members of
JIRP consider Camp 17 to be one of the worst on the
Icefield, due to the persistently bad weather. But it's
hard to believe that on days like the one in this photo.
This camp is located on a nunatak nearly half a mile above
the Gilkey Glacier. This is one of five main camps scattered
across the Icefield from Juneau to Atlin.
Maintenance of the camps is a never-ending process.
Here's a photo of the same camp shown in the previous
photo, but taken several years later. Compare the two
buildings on the right-hand side with the same buildings
in the previous photo. After weathering many years of
severe storms and snowfall, the roofs had to be replaced.
At every camp, there's always a written plan of the day
to keep everyone informed of the day's activities. The
daily plan usually includes academic lectures, field
research, data analysis, and other scholarly pursuits.
Once in a while however, a little levity finds its way
into the plan of the day.
Our daily routine begins with breakfast followed by
a work detail in which everyone pitches in to help
keep the camps in good repair. Here, members of the
program apply siding and patch the roof of one of
Here's a typical interior view of one of the buildings.
Notice the unfinished character -- of the building that is
(not the fellow on the left). While the buildings won't
win any Better Homes & Gardens awards, they do
provide a safe haven from the severe storms which
often rage over the Icefield.
Speaking of storms, the wind speed indicator
shown here registers 82 mph (133 km/h)! And
this was in the summer when the storms aren't
as severe as they are in the winter. This photo
was taken at the same camp as that shown in
the previous photo.
After the daily work details are completed and
lectures have been attended, it's time to crunch the
survey data and calculate glacier movement.
Of course, it's not all work and no play. When field
work, lectures, and other chores are done, there's
time for relaxation and contemplation. And there's no
better place to take in the sights than high above the
Gilkey Trench and Glacier.
The period just before or after a storm sometimes
provides spectacular photo opportunities. Here,
low maritime clouds are advancing up the Gilkey
Glacier from the coast just before sunset.
Speaking of relaxation and contemplation, what better
way to experience the spirit of the North than with a
recitation of Robert Service by lantern light. Here,
Dr. Miller entertains us with a lively reading of
"The Cremation of Sam McGee".
Here's the inside of the dining hall at one of the
main camps. It's a far cry from luxurious, but
there's always plenty of peanut butter and pilot
bread on the table! The cooks in the background
are busy fixing lunch for the crowd that will soon
fill the cookshack from wall to wall.
With up to 50 people in the field for two months, accidents
are sometimes bound to happen. When this student cut her
hand on the metal edges of her skis, our resident doctors
sprang to action. Here, they prepare to stitch up the wound
in an impromptu operating room -- the cookshack.
Sunny days on the Juneau Icefield are relatively rare, so when
the clouds depart field work goes full bore. On this particular
day, we climbed a peak to install and survey a summit benchmark.
Hermann, always looking for an opportunity to paint, is here
taking advantage of a cloudless day to express his artistic side.
What do we eat on the Icefield? Here's a sample.
Notice the "best when purchased by" date. This
particular box was purchased in 1978 and consumed
in July, 1989. How'd it taste? Like the cardboard box!
While canned, boxed, and other types of prepared
foods make up the bulk of our diet, we do occasionally
get fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products flown
in by helicopter. Since we don't have refrigerators
to keep the food from spoiling, we take advantage
of the natural refrigerator just outside the cookshack.
Here, one of the students digs out a cave in the snow
to house our "freshies".
With all the scrumptious food we have on the Icefield,
it's no wonder that we have rats. Believe it or not, but
mice and rats do pose a hazard to our food supplies
at even the most remote camps. Someone must have
thought that this rat voodoo doll would scare the little
critters away. Not a chance!
Scientists aren't always bent over their microscopes
and calculators. Some possess quite a bit of artistic
talent as well.
After playing one too many pranks on others, this
unfortunate fellow found himself on the receiving
end -- and duct taped to the flag pole!