We awoke to a fresh covering of wet snow on the ground. Another morning run up the winding and now slippery hill, where several sneakers lost their traction during the icy descent. We began the day, showered and clean, with a lecture about the Arctic environment, the difference between the North Magnetic, Geomagnetic and True North Pole, the political controversy around countries’ territories, global climate change and more. A particularly impassioned debate started around the topic of oil drilling, mining rights and how to change people’s consumer habits.
A delicious rice and chicken lunch was prepared by our wonderful kitchen staff, and full and content, we were introduced to the process and the instruments used to take snow measurements (something that the selected North Pole applicants will be resonsible for during the expedition). These measurements are key to gathering data in order to better understand climate change, predict avalanches and to efficiently manage watersheds.
Then on to the practical portion of the lecture, during which we drove our Mercedes-Benz vans up to adequate snowcover, split into groups, dug our 2 meter by 1 meter snow pits, and then used the techniques we learned to accurately measure the snow layers, height, grain size, and snow water equivalence. As the scientific practice wound down, someone threw a snowball at Martin and Luke, which resulted in a ten minute flurry of flying, packed snow, laughter and gaiety.
After everyone had literally no power left to throw snowballs and was completely soaked, we drove back to the hotel and spend the remaining time till dinner with editing the vidoes we have taken during the last days.
As soon as we had finished dinner, we went to the seminar-room and enjoined listening to Michael Scholl, a marine scientist who introduced us to his work with Great White Sharks off the coast of South Africa. We are full of excitement for the famous two-day Selection Camp Raid, which will start tomorrow at noon, and should go to bed pretty soon now, in order to gather strength for the toughest part of our 10 days in Château d’Oex.