Our team appears to have finally found our grove. We start the morning somewhere between 5:45 – 6:00 a.m. with wake-up tea… yes, we get served wake-up tea, which is literally when they come around and wake us up with a glass of tea, although I prefer hot water. Usually, we’re already awake in our tents by this time, but it’s still a pleasant treat to get you out of your sleeping bag and have some warmth to fight the slightly chilly mornings. 15 minutes later they come around with our washing water, which is a small bowl filled with about a liter of water that serves as our “showers” up here. Everyone develops their own routine and on previous trips it’s been a frequent topic of discussion as to what your exact routine is. The one that I’ve developed over time is first washing the face with soap, then the armpits, and then the feet. The armpits has been a recent addition after spending some time with the UK guys and learning this is a common area of wash each morning – it’s a little awkward and has a bit more splash as you try to get your armpit above the bowl on the ground, but I’d say its certainly beneficial and I imagine the others in the group would agree. After the feet are cleaned, I proceed to wash my socks from the previous day in the leftover water. I then dump the water out and fill up the bowel with the water from our “hot bladder” such that I can rinse out my socks and hang them up to dry. The hot bladder is a rubber water bladder filled with boiling water that they give us after dinner to keep us warm through the night… yes, you might start thinking that it’s beginning to sound a bit like glamping – it is. I can’t stress it enough that they truly enable us to be comfortable, healthy, and well-fed, which allows us to focus solely on research. We couldn’t do this work without all our guides, porters, and cooking staff’s help, so a big thanks to them!
So there’s my morning routine in a nutshell and it seems like everyone is beginning to develop their own. We meet in the tent for breakfast, a modified version of breakfast tacos from chapatti and an omelet, and then head out to the field somewhere between 7:30 – 8:00 a.m. Today, we constructed the wind tower, wired the automatic weather station, and conducted an analysis of the accuracy of the dGPS points as a function of observation time. Alina and Greta stepped up to the task of being our dGPS experts and spend their morning collecting data on the exact same point, over and over again, such that we can determine the accuracy of the points that we collect on future days. The accuracy appears to be around 2 mm horizontally and 7 mm vertically, which is pretty outstanding! While Greta and Alina were crushing the dGPS measurements, Jonathan and I got to work installing the wind tower with the help of our guide, Laxmi, our assistant guide, Kamal, and the two porters who were with us, Prokesh and Byok. It’s always exciting to get them involved and they always seem eager to help if the opportunity presents itself. After the wind tower was erected, which will allow us to measure the aerodynamic roughness of the debris, Jonathan and I switched gears towards wiring the weather station…
As Greta said last night, I’m not really “wired” for working with electronics, but I give it my best shot. Campbell Scientific makes wiring the weather station fairly simple, but this still means that I have to put approximately 75 wires from 9 different instruments into the correct location on the data logger’s circuit board – the correct location being about a 2 mm by 2 mm square that I need to open and close with a screw driver. It’s tedious to say the least. Fortunately, Jonathan was quite patient with me and over the next 2 hours as the wind came howling through our site and a few snowflakes started falling, he read out which wire from which instruments went into which location on the circuit board. By the time we finished we were all quite cold as the sun didn’t want to make an appearance this morning. I plugged in the laptop to see if everything was recording properly and sure thing it was! High fives went all around! We then packed up very rapidly and got started hiking off the glacier.
When we arrived back at the camp, we warmed ourselves up with some tea, crackers, and ra-ra soup (really just ramen). The other benefit of today – it appears we’re all starting to get acclimated as most of our headaches are gone. Personally, I felt great today likely a mix of the productive work we accomplished in the field and actually reaching the point of being acclimated. It feels terrific and makes it all so much more enjoyable. Hopefully, we’ll just keep on rolling tomorrow.