08 June 2009

Mapping and Maintaining Sensors at Cuevita de Cartarpe

07 June 2009

Image: A southerly view of Cañon Cartarpe.

We had another productive day in the Atacama. This non-cave feature is likely the only one that will require rope during this expedition. As a safety precaution, both trucks contain rescue gear which includes rope. So, while this is the only time rope will be required as part of this work, I am also hopeful that it will be the last time we need to use rope. We had to rig a 25 ft upclimb to reach the upper level of this cave. Accessing this upper level requires nuisance climb; we had to use our ascenders to get to the upper level.

Image: Christina, our safety chief and rope master, rigging the cave for our ascent. While I am look like I'm contributing, I'm really just in the way.

I got to try out my new Petzl Verso on the rap down. I totally dig it! Thanks again to Charly and Petzl for their support!

Image: The doc observing the operations undertaken in the pit. Fortunately, his expertise were not required again today. Image: Dan Ruby.

We had three instruments in this cave, and we’ve learned uploading data and re-launching our instruments takes very little time. Our mapping team will be spending far more time in the field than the sensor maintenance team. However, the sensor team will still have a lot of work to do by way of analysis and determining whether we need to return to some of our caves to deploy additional instruments.

Image: Entrance of Cuevita de Cartarpe. Credit: Tim Titus.

Cañon Cartarpe is perhaps one of the more picturesque areas where we will be working during this expedition. The Rio San Pedro cuts this canyon, and thus it is the only area in this part of the Atacama that contains vegetation. The town of San Pedro exists because of this river and has been an important oasis to both humans and animals for thousands of years.

Image: Likely the only time I will be on rope during this expedition. It was a short upclimb and as short of a rappel. However, any day on rope is a good day, indeed! Credit: Dan Ruby.

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