Well, how long has it been…

As I’m sure you’re all aware, there’s been a lot going on over the last little while; and, some things might have slipped through the cracks; these updates might be one of them… Anyways, that’s been amended, and we’re now ‘back on the horse’ with a revised plan for ongoing content updates, so please, stay tuned…

But where are we now; what’s going on:

Antarctica. Still a few irons in the fire here, both adventurous and scientific and engineering. Funding remains the challenge, but we have no shortage of scientific adventures in mind, and a few engineering opportunities that might be closer to realisation.

I’m in regular touch with Australia’s own lead Polar Guide, Eric Phillips on such matters, and I recently acquired a copy of Damien Gildea’s iconic Mountaineering in Antarctica, to guide scientific endeavours; so many opportunities to consider…

Arctic. Well, the allure of the North Pole still looms large. Not to reach necessarily, but as the iconic starting point for an overland scientific traverse expedition that would address spatial and temporal oceanographic data deficiency in the high Arctic. There’s a need, and I’m very happy to address it, but again, obtaining sufficient funding remains the challenge.

Colleagues and I have a few ideas on routes and possibilities, and again, flexibility is key, to comply with any funding or logistical-support opportunities. As an aside, an icebreaker might cost ~$200K per day, whereas an over-ice team could be supported for perhaps 2 months with such funding; just saying…

Greater Arctic. After revisiting Greenland in 2018 with the RESPONDER team (https://www.erc-responder.eu) to assist in seismic work, the allure remains, but alas the opportunity to return has not yet presented itself. A opportunity to return via INTERACT (https://eu-interact.org) to assess mass balance using GPR and penetrometers didn’t materialise, but that’s research…

I did get to Lestijärvi in Finland in February 2020 for the World Snow and Ice Sailing Championships (https://wissa2020.ee/2020/01/28/wissa-2020-in-lestijarvi-finland/) with Brisbane’s Charles Werb from Adventure Entertainment (https://www.adventureentertainment.com/) in his Swoosh Snowsailer for some speed trials on the lake. Unfortunately, conditions weren’t particularly conducive to extended runs, but we put the machine through her paces and evolution continues…; a great craft for potential long distance wind-assisted polar journeys…

Patagonia. Work continues on a longitudinal scientific traverse of the Patagonian ice caps; a seismic traverse is considered to constrain existing ice thickness data, but the recent use of Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) in Greenland (https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2020GL088148), has made me dig a bit deeper re. options; currently reading-up on the topic: https://www.routledge.com/An-Introduction-to-Distributed-Optical-Fibre-Sensors/Hartog/p/book/9781138082694

New Zealand. I was fortunate to recently receive some support from the Mt Everest Foundation (https://www.mef.org.uk/) to conduct some glaciological examinations of both the Bonar Glacier and the Olivine Ice Platau in the New Zealand Southern Alps. I was able to make a brief recce along the proposed access route in November 2019, and the pieces continue to fall into place for this important work, which is terrific. Unfortunately, the work is on hold at the moment, but once international travel and permitting is ‘sorted’, I do look forward to getting out on the ice.

Himalaya. As always, aspirations to return to the Himalaya endure. I have a number of New Colombo Plan applications in (https://www.dfat.gov.au/people-to-people/new-colombo-plan/pages/new-colombo-plan), to take http://www.usc.edu.au students to India and Nepal to look at urban infrastructure issues, as well as stability of soil and snow and ice slopes.

Additionally, I recently submitted a Rolex Award (https://www.rolex.org/rolex-awards/faq) to examine the use of affordable and innovative LiDAR to monitor dangerous glacial moraine walls; we’ll see how we go. I have a number of students refining this approach at USC this year, so it would be nice to be able to further it, to save some lives…

Everest continues to draw me back and a glaciological & geological assessment of the North Face particularly, remains of high interest. I’ve included an image of the face in question here (thank you to this photographer (unknown); I am chasing attribution.

Domestically. Locally, tyre dragging has stopped for now, with no long sledging journeys imminent, but I’ve been keeping the fitness and climbing skills up, ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice.

I have plans to do some testing of flexible fuel bladders as a means of carrying fuel in the Arctic. I stated my intent here (https://www.linkedin.com/posts/adrianmccallum_polarscience-arctic-logistics-activity-6659358344119226369-Fvel) and thanks again to Steve from Adventure Moto (https://www.adventuremoto.com.au/about-us) for his support.

Also, I recently agreed to serve as “Explorer Scientist Coordinator” for the Wilkins Foundation (https://www.wilkinsfoundation.org.au) to coordinate the generation and collection of brief scientific articles of public interest that might touch upon the life and work of an oft’ forgotten Australian polar explorer, Sir Hubert Wilkins. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can discover here…

Well that’s probably enough for now; my sincerest apologies for the long ‘drought’. I look forward to providing more regular updates from hereon in…

Interested in the pursuit of remote area science & engineering, and the empowerment of people...

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