Thursday, March 19, 2009

Old Pole Closure

Temperature: -55.8C
Wind Chill: -76.5C
Wind Speed: 12 kts

This is the year it finally happened...the NSF decided to close, or cave in the entrance to Old Pole. Old Pole is not the Dome that scientists, workers, and other Polies vacated when the new station went up. Old Pole was where everybody lived before the Dome was built. Right now, due to snow drifts, it sits under about 20 feet of snow. NSF thought it would be best, since this place is constantly shifting and the buildings below the ice might not be structurally sound, that it would be safer to collapse the entrance to keep people from trying to go down to Old Pole and see how they used to do it back in the day.

Last week, on Saturday, a crew of us went out to take out a culvert that indicated the entrance to the old station. We hooked a cable from the dozer to the culvert, and well...

hauled it right out!

We then proceeded to try and fill in the remainder of the entrance, and smooth out the area around the hole.

Unfortunately, we hit a snag...our trusty dozer, "Pearl", found a pocket of loose snow and proceeded to sink on us!

When we tried to pull her out....

okay, not really. We were just pulling the tow cable out for the other dozer. We hooked up to her back, and tried pulling her the way she had come, but the problem got worse. Luckily, the treads on the sides of Pearl are wider than the cab, so Boyd had no problems getting out of Pearl, should she start to sink more.

Since backing out wasn't working, we tried hooking the second dozer up to her front end, and pulling her out that way, but that didn't fix the problem either.

What finally fixed the issue was bringing one of the loaders over, and digging a sloped path for Pearl to work her way up.

That finally fixed the sinkage factor, and Pearl is content inside the machine shop. We decided it would be in our best interest to let nature take over and fill in the space we created on her own. Didn't really want to risk finding another pocket!

I will leave you with this image...the sun is beginning to set down here, and we are getting ready to see some really beautiful skies!!

Take care
Capt. Splash

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