Sunday, 26 July 2015

Tsanteleina-Soches part 2. or - How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the cable tie

A second visit to the Tsanteleina Glacier last week and there are many things that I could talk about, relevant issues about ice that is disappearing underfoot, melt channels that are multiplying dramatically in the response to a very welcomed high pressure 'heat wave' over much of Europe in the last month.

A small version of the many supraglacial melt channels on the glacier

A view down-glacier where the edge of the snow is very slushy and flowing quickly away

Perhaps I could discuss the general annoyance at losing personal equipment, super unstable tripods not really standing up as hoped or the fact that the Kovacs ice drill is the most poorly designed piece of equipment that one (or sometimes two) person(s) could ever hope for, particularly when hands are readily cooled by those lovely katabatic winds.

no..... none of that comes close to the positive outlook I have to share about my one fundamental ,supreme piece of equipment, without which my fieldwork on the Tsanteleina-Soches so far may have left me rather saddened....

YES, the cable tie... tie-wrap, hose-tie, zip tie or even zap-strap if you prefer... arguably the best invention in the history of the cosmos.  If I could travel back to 1950's America and hug inventor Maurus C. Logan I would!

After we had misplaced or tripod bracket for the dataloggers last month our faithful friend cable tie was happy to jump to our aid.  After timelapse cameras decided to film the floor for the last 3 weeks a daisy-chained nylon cable construction was ready to assist.

At least 10 cable ties here!

To maintain the measurement accuracy of our ablation stake measurements (to measure melt of the glacier), those beautiful cable ties kindly held individual 1 metre pieces together to reduce wind effects when melt out occurred.

considering only 1 of 12 T-logger stations survived the last month standing after the snow disappeared to reveal a less smooth ice surface, cable-tying small boulders around the legs of the tripod should hopefully help to keep them upright until next month's field visit.

It COULD work :)

And when my crampons sadly became damaged and left me a little teary, you can guess which magical item saved the day... day after day!

It was put forward by Penny, a friend and fellow glaciologist at the University of Edinburgh that Duct tape is a glaciologist's best friend in the field (her blog here).... and while I was once a believer, I think my 1000x assortment of Clas Ohlson miracles keep my science going far better!

Probably some cable ties in this snow pit too :)

So for your ice-lovers out there, whether you are hiking, climbing, skiing or establishing a network of detailed meteorological observations, buy some cable ties..... do it NOW!  GO!!!!

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