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Contemplating the crux move

Updated: at 03:05 PM

Being delayed in Goose Bay is setting us back. It’s also giving us time to think about the days to come. There will be lots of preparation in Kanger, now crammed into fewer days….. Arranging cargo, testing gear, organizing food, collecting survival equipment, and mentally preparing for what is to follow. Before we know it, our gear and team will be packed into a C-130 on the short flight to Raven. Touchdown on top of a mile-thick ice sheet, the rear cargo door will open, and our pallets will be ejected. All bundled in our cold weather gear, we will wave goodbye to the plane as it flies away, leaving us in that silence that one feels when one is far from civilization. It’s also that odd, internal silence one feels as they approach the crux maneuver.

Matt, Von, and Cat work out the details of the problems to be solved in the lounge

Our crux is day one on the ice. We must get to a point of survivability, both for us and our equipment. On the human side, this means the shelter of our tents, and the ability to make warmth, water, and food. For our equipment, it is all about the batteries for our power system, which will be slowly losing charge as they self-heat. We need to get them warm and ideally connected to solar charging as soon as possible. While we will try to take a much more measured approach to the later stages of our deployment, this day-one crux will be our sole focus until we’ve achieved that survivability, no matter how long that takes. No doubt it will be a long, cold, and tiring day, but we’ve been planning it out for months.

In all reality, there will be other cruxes before we leave the ice. Achieving a functional power system. Getting all of those instruments running. Seeing measured data populating our online interface via a satellite connection. These are also key moves in our path towards a successful mission. But all of these are not even a consideration if we fail at our first crux move. So that is weighing heavy on my mind as we sit here anxiously waiting to leave.

Battery boxes being prepared for their time in the fieldMatt's son completing the crux of a climbing route.

Left: The battery assembly line, one of the many things to prepare, before we can reach the first day on the ice. Right: Matt’s son after the crux.