Tuesday, July 17, 2012

2012 Fieldwork Return

Back into Cusco last night after ~10 days at Quelccaya. With help from Vicencio Expeditions (Guide Felix, porters Theodoro and Hector, a cook and 8 horses), we accomplished just about all we hoped to. First up was locating the elusive 1983 survey points, a considerable relief. Then, 5 days and 4 nights were spent on top at the AWS, servicing the station and measuring snow. The weather was rather incredible, with cloudless days of no wind and very low humidity. Although at times we baked in the sun, quick checks suggested the air temperature remained below freezing every day; nights were invariably clear and cold. Ablation seems to have been minimal through the interval, due to the relatively fresh snow cover and dominance of sublimation over melting. More details will follow. Here are a few quickly-selected, unedited images.

1. From our tent just before sunrise on 12 July (Happy Birthday Elise).

2.  Carsten prepares our morning coffee, crucial task #1 each day.

 3.  Here the AWS tower has been raised, and instrument adjustments/service are underway.

 4.  Changing out one of the temperature/humidity sensors.

5.  Snowpit, part I. Eventually we went to 4.5 meters, about half again this depth. This required saws and hard effort which broke both of our steel shovels; credit for perseverance goes primarily to Theodoro and Hector (and our trusty Voilé shovel). The contact between the most recent accumulation (i.e., 2011-2012) and the 2011 dry-season surface is readily apparent.

 6.  Qori Kalis outlet glacier, as seen while waiting for a GigaPan panorama to execute (615 images). Note the adult Mountain Caracara flying by!