The EAIIST team is in the middle of a pre-routing to Concordia. This first stage covers more than 1100 km. On the first day, there are a few cracks to go around, but then it's flat calm. The rise on the plateau is very gradual, and the temperature decreases with altitude. White at the bottom, blue at the top (when the weather is good), and a landscape without reliefs. Sometimes the convoy passes through an area beaten by the wind, which sculpts huge sastrugi (undulations of the snowy ground) that can easily exceed 1m. The shapes are fluid, all in softness but the snow is very hard and without the groomer at the head of the convoy, the progress would be extremely difficult.
The pre-carriage of vehicles to Concordia does not allow very long scientific work. It is necessary to act quickly because the goal is above all to get the vehicles on the plateau. Sometimes the team can drill a 1m snow core, using a corer on a drill, because it takes 10 minutes. On the roof of the science caravans, air sample collectors work independently.
Morale is good in the team, which will have joined Concordia within ten days.
top picture : ©Bruno Jourdain