University of Wisconsin-Madison

Week 43 at the Pole

Erik Beiser, IceCube/NSF
Erik Beiser, IceCube/NSF

It’s that time of year for the “changing of the guard”—for IceCube’s winterovers, that is. Last week, Christian Krueger, one of IceCube’s 2015-16 winterovers, arrived alone and can be seen walking back from the plane alongside Stephan Richter, current winterover, who was on hand to greet him (Stephan came prepared with a sign so Christian could find him more easily among all the red parkas). Two IceCube winterovers have yearlong assignments at a time, and their stays at the South Pole usually overlap a bit, so that the outgoing pair can help ease the transition for the incoming pair, showing them the ropes. Like this year, one newcomer sometimes arrives before the other [2013] while usually both arrive together [2014] [2012].

Besides the arrival of several planes, bringing the station population up to about 120 (winter population is normally around 50), the week also saw a fair amount of other activity. Early on there was a station-wide power outage, the IceCube winterovers completed the IceTop snow survey, Halloween brought out some creative watermelon carving, and all the station’s winterovers received their Antarctica Service Medals, including the special “Wintered Over” attachment.

Erik Beiser, IceCube/NSF
Erik Beiser, IceCube/NSF
Erik Beiser, IceCube/NSF
Erik Beiser, IceCube/NSF
Erik Beiser, IceCube/NSF
Erik Beiser, IceCube/NSF
Erik Beiser, IceCube/NSF
Erik Beiser, IceCube/NSF