The second South Pole overland traverse (SPoT2) arrived a week before Christmas, and I managed to grab a few pictures of their setup! The SPoT1 and SPoT2 teams travel about 1,000 miles, driving tractors, over the Ross Ice Shelf, up the Leverett Glacier and across the vast polar plateau, just to deliver fuel to us here at the pole. This is really an adventure—they have to be wary of crevasses as they transition from the ice shelf to the plateau.
Once a traverse arrives at South Pole it take some days to offload their cargo of fuel, service or repair their tractors and head back toward McMurdo. Here are some pictures from the SPoT2 camp once they arrived here:
SPoT1 is currently en route back to us to deliver another 100,000 gallons of fuel so that there is plenty for the winter. Here’s an image of their progress up until January 3rd: (I received it in an email.)
This year the South Pole will have 310,000 gallons of its fuel resupply delivered via the traverses this season. Without them—we would have to rely on offloaded fuel from the LC-130s, which is an issue because: firstly, it takes many, many flights to resupply the same amount of fuel as a traverse—and the traverse uses less fuel than flights and cuts down on the carbon footprint, and secondly, we haven’t been getting very many flights in lately, so if we didn’t have the traverses, we wouldn’t have showers, laundry, the growth chamber, etc. And I wouldn’t have my mental sanity.