Dan and Betty Churchill Exploration Fund
Arzhan Surazakov and Dan Joswiak, UIdaho
Susan Kaspari and Bjorn Grigholm, UMaine
July 16, to August 6, 2005
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Moskvina Base Camp, Tajikistan
We are currently at base camp and things are going very well. The scenery is quite spectacular here with Samoni peak (7,450 meters or 24,000 feet) within view. This is a very popular base camp for climbing groups; yesterday and today groups from Israel, Norway and Spain have all joined us here.
The team has been doing day hikes to help us get better acclimated to the altitude. We have been looking at the moraines and glaciers, and working on our crevasse rescue techniques, and Vladimir, Dan and Arzhan have been working on the meteorological station.
We will be spending an additional day or two at Moskvina because some repair work is being done on the road that the fuel truck will travel on to deliver fuel to the helicopter refueling station. Once the fuel is delivered we will be able to fly to Fedchenko glacier and begin our work.
Moskivina Base Camp, Tajikistan
We are still at Base Camp, and are doing well. We have a flight scheduled for early tomorrow morning to our working site on the Fedchenko glacier. We are enjoying our stay here meeting people from all over the world. As we mentioned in our last update, climbers from all over the world come here for stays of up to a month at a time.
Yesterday, Arzhan and I went on an another acclimatization hike. Today, we were working with Bjorn on glacial traveling techniques. We were particularly working on walking on glacial ablation zones (the area where a glacier is actively melting). Ablation zones are usually very rough and take some work to travel across.
We will try to check in again tomorrow to let you all know about our flight.
This morning we boarded the helicopter for our flight to Fedchenko glacier. However, when Vladimir showed the pilot on the map exactly were we wanted to go, things got a little complicated. Our site is harder to get into and farther than they had planned. It will require more fuel than the helicopter can carry at high altitudes to get us in and get them back.
So we have stopped in a little village called Jirgital and we will be staying here over night. Tomorrow, the helicopter company will fly in a refueling tank and position it part way to our camp. Then we will fly up and the helicopter will be able to stop and refuel on the way back down. All of our gear will stay loaded on the helicopter overnight to save us time in the morning.
They have given us a room in the airport building where we will stay tonight. This is a very small regional airport. Jirgital is a very pretty village and we should enjoy our stay.
I will report in again tomorrow.
After an incredible flight this morning, we arrived safely and set up camp. Tomorrwo we will find an exact location for the drill site, begin on the snow pits, and set up the meteorological station. Tonight Bjorm and I began a snow sublimation study for Margrit. We plan to begin working early tomorrow morning.
This is a stunningly beautiful place! We are at 5,250 meters about 17,000 feet. I won't be checking back in for a couple of days; we expect to be very busy.