1997 Field Report
The UMASS weather station and snowpack analysis team (Doug Hardy, Mathias Vuille and Carsten Braun)
left the heat and humidity of western Massachusetts on June 10. Many thanks to Anne Waple for again taking us to the airport in Boston. After an uneventful flight and an expensive experience with the Bolivian Customs we arrived in La Paz, where we met the UMASS lake coring and biomarker analysis team (Leslie Anderson, Emily Cobabe and Mark Abbott). This year our aclimatization period included a trip to the
Chacaltaya Glacier (the world's highest ski resort until the '97-98 El Niño) and watching a
soccer game (Bolivia vs. Peru, as part of the Copa America).
from left to right: Club Andino Hut, Chacaltaya | soccer
game Bolivia - Peru | a real fan !
On June 19 we left for Nevado Sajama (thanks to support from Bernard Pouyaud of ORSTOM).
Climbing Sajama was a lot more enjoyable compared to last year, less difficult talus and scree and more snow and ice. As in 1996, we again spend one day at Campo Alto (5600 m) in order to get used to the altitude.
On the summit, we joined scientists from the Byrd Polar Research Center, (Ohio
State University), Penn State and ORSTOM in their effort to conduct research despite very inhospitable weather
conditions. After 8 days, 16 m (vertical!) digging in snow and moving the weather station ~ 50 m, we were ready to depart. On the way down, Mathias Vuille did the first descent of a steep new
route on Sajama's N-face (Swiss Glacier Express, WI2, X) in record time.
L to R: mule, Hardigg case and Sajama | Campo Alto | climbing to the summit | Sajama AWS
Summary of efforts at the weather station, June/July 1997:Excavated station, repaired components buried by unusually heavy 1996-97 snowfall.
Raised entire station by 2.0 meters.
Downloaded data from station, changed data storage module, and changed operating system of datalogger; installed new datalogger program.
Replaced blower on aspirated radiation shield of temperature/humidity sensor (preventative maintenance).
Installed 2 ultrastable thermistors (at 1.85 m depth, and 0.15 m above the snow surface).
Installed four thermocouples (at heights of 0.03, 1.03, and 2.03 m above the snow surface, and at the height of other temperature sensors, 3.7 m).
Installed Infrared Temperature Transducer, for remote measurement of snow surface temperature (from 2.3 m).
After returning to La Paz, Doug Hardy left for the United States. Mathias Vuille and Carsten Braun, after relaxing and recovering for a week, left
for Illimani on July 14 to install the world's second highest satellite-linked weather station. Illimani is a beautiful mountain and offers exciting climbing in a spectacular setting (highly recommended!). After spending two nights at 6265 m the installation of the weather station was finished and now we are receiving data every three hours from both Sajama and Illimani.
L to R: Illimani stamp | Illimani basecamp | Nido di Condores (High camp) | camp at 6265 m
In addition to our sponsors we would like to sincerely thank:
- Carlos Escobar (mountaineering guide and owner of the trekking agency Nuevo Horizontes) for organzing the difficult logistics on Illimani.
- Claudio (cook and porter extraordinaire) for coming up with the winning solution on Illimani.
- The folks from ORSTOM Bolivia, for helping out with logistics, communication and equipment.
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Climate System Research Center | Department of Geosciences | University of Massachusetts
Document maintained by Doug Hardy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Last updated: 10 October 1998