State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


On Our Way to the Top

This morning we were at our staging area at the Grasberg mine at 5 am, and were able to use the B3 helicopter to get ourselves set up. First trip up, our colleagues Keith Mountain and Vladimir Mikhalenko went to what we call the “saddle camp”—a spot between two peaks—where we will stage the first three drilling sites, and keep our basic survival gear, should the weather go down.  Immediately after this, a sling load of camp material was sent in.  (It is key to first have two people on the ground, to release those sling loads as they are dropped.) We then sent Paolo, Broxton Bird and David Christenson (a Freeport photographer) up to our lower base camp, where some equipment had already been dropped, to arrange equipment there for sling loads up to saddle camp.  The helicopter also picked up our cook, who had been acclimatizing in lower base camp.  After 2.5 hours of flying,  the complete saddle camp was in place.

Glaciers atop Puncak Jaya, about to be sampled (David Christenson/Freeport McMoRan)
Glaciers atop Puncak Jaya, about to be sampled (David Christenson/Freeport McMoRan)

Our plan now is to  place the drill itself and all the drilling equipment including freezers, with Victor and I onto the first drill site tomorrow morning.  If all is good with people and equipment, we could start drilling by noon tomorrow.

With so much essential equipment missing until now, it has been a slow liftoff. But all seems now in place, and we are looking forward to a successful drilling.   If it had been easy, it would have already been done!

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