West Antarctic Ice Sheet Stability:
Glacial Record from the Ohio Range of
the Horlick Mountains in the Bottleneck
Hal Borns*, Aaron Putnam, UMaine
Robert Ackert, Sujoy Mukhopadhyay, Harvard.
December 15, 2004 to February 15, 2005
January 2nd 2005
January 12, 2006

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Peter belaying
ice ridge
The windscoop descent
A sample

The Bennett Nunataks, pt. 2

Today was our last day of fieldwork in this portion of the Ohio Range, as tomorrow we are to pack up camp for the move to Mercer Ridge. Essentially, our fieldwork is 2/3 of the way done. There are two series of moraines on Mercer Ridge that will take us around three or four days to sample (provided the weather cooperates).

It is almost a bit sad, as today we saw our last glimpse of the Darling Ridge moraine complex, and the Bennett ‘family.’ Today, due to the perfect weather, we headed back to the Bennett Nunataks, where Robert and I would attempt to sample ‘Mama’ Bennett, and Pete and Sujoy would finish up ‘Baby’ Bennett.

Pete belayed Robert and I down the deep, icy windscoop where Robert and I were to spend the day. We found a way up to the summit, where we were treated with a fantastic view of the other Bennett Nunataks, Darling Ridge and the moraines, as well as the large ice-falls to west.

We sampled from the top down, where I took a Trimble at the bottom to calibrate Robert’s altimeter. It was a fine day for fieldwork that was for sure. Pete and Sujoy arrived just as we were finishing up, and Pete belayed us we climbed up the windscoop with crampons and axe. That was an interesting experience, as I was climbing with a pack full of rocks, food and drink, with the Trimble pack strapped on… I wasn’t keen on hanging out on the steep ice for long, so I trudged up at a brisk pace. Peter was having a hard time keeping up the belay rope, so I had to periodically stop and wait for the rope to become taught again. Eventually I reached the top, and Robert climbed up. We packed up the gear, threw it on the snowmobile, and were off back home for the final time from this particular area.

Another day, another meal, and here I am. I welcome a change of scenery, and look forward to being on the table – however I feel extremely blessed to have had such an incredible experience in this part of the Ohio Range. Let us hope that Mother Earth blesses us with a similar experience in our new home.

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