National Geographic : 1956 Jan
trial triumphantly. It has been working ever since. Along its half-mile of cables all our materiel was lifted in loads of 1,500 pounds for six successive summers. Even the heavy, bulky trailer laboratories followed this un usual route, looking like red, fat pigs dangling in the air. The weasels, twice a year-at the start and at the end of each summer's work used a rough trail around the mountain. Weather Raises Obstacles Beyond the cliff lay a lake dotted with huge stones like a smallpoxed face, then snow patches, and finally the abrupt moraine chal lenging final access to the icecap. This mo raine is an awesome mixture of loose stones and boulders caught in deep shifting mud like dark-brown glue. Roaring torrents of melted snow cut deep canyons in it when the weather starts to warm up. And it warmed up, indeed. As a matter of fact, it deteriorated completely, and we had to work in a sort of pea soup made of fog, sleet, rain, and billions of mosquitoes. After our first try at constructing some kind of rough trail through the moraine, cameraman Samivel came to me with a face as though he had just lost his own mother. "We'll never make it," he said gloomily. "Why?" I asked. "Didn't you see? It moves!" The moraine moved, all right; it crept for ward like cooling lava, and the trail called for endless repairs. But we made it and established Camp III on the snow at the edge of the icecap, approximately 2,000 feet above the sea. The first day's rest came to us 46 long days after our first landing. It was well de served. During every one of these 46 days we had worked some 14 uninterrupted hours a day and slept when we could, an average of less than four hours in each 24-hour period. During that first day of rest we could have learned that a shipload of pretty girls was coming to visit us, and it wouldn't have made any difference. All we wanted was to sleep and eat and sleep again and eat again. When we woke up, the warm foehn wind had fallen down on us. And with it came the thaw. But our first year's work was just about finished.