National Geographic : 1956 Jan
136 Buckets Replace Brooms at Spring Houseclea Ten feet of snow falling on top of the Station's corridors their height from six feet to four, compelling the men to crou site). By spring the tunnels required redigging. When ou peratures fell to 850 below zero, the unheated tunnels rer 40° below. Here Abel Havard, like a miner at pithead, ha The heat of the motors inside of our weasels, the glare of the sun outside, the hope that all was well and that there would be no problems any more, gave us a feeling of comfort and dozi ness. Suddenly the train stopped. I jumped out. Several men were standing around one of the weasels, their hands on their hips, looking down as does a crowd around a man hurt by a car. I joined them. One of the tracks of the vehicle lay on the snow, at full length, like a corpse. It took 16 hours to repair. Some of the work had to be done barehanded in the zero cold, so we had to heat the metal to prevent fingers from freezing to it. Three Days of Blizzard We hit the trail again. An other track snapped. Then several. And each took from 12 to 18 hours to repair. On the nose of each weasel me chanic Camille Marinier painted caterpillars, as many as the weasel had had broken tracks, like bombs on the nose of a plane for each bombing mission. Then we were stuck for three days in a howling blizzard. When we came out from our sleds and tents, the snow lay in wavelike ridges five to six feet high (page 128). More and more tracks gave out under the terrible pounding they took. Some had been re paired three times and would simply have to be replaced. Wehadbeen onthegofor 12 days and had covered only half the distance to the site of our Central Icecap Station. We Marcel ichac needed good tracks badly. We dining had plenty, but they were many depressed miles behind us-left with the ch (oppo- rest of the expedition because side tem- we could take only the abso mais snow. lute minimum. auls snow. lute minimum.