2011-12 Photos - Visitors Center!

please stay on marked trails and listen to the park ranger

No...we were not building another new station here...rather, a "visitors center" complex to support the several hundred tourists who were showing up for the centenary of Amundsen's and Scott's arrival 100 years ago. Most of these were, of course, unofficial visitors being flown in by the tour companies ANI/ALE (from Punta Arenas/Union Glacier) and ALCI (from Cape Town/Novo), but others were skiing/kiting/walking in from various distances. So...they got a store, a venue for lectures/presentations, and an exhibit area...put together by Geordan McQuiston and a small crew of carpenters from McMurdo. The huts were Rac-Tents typically used for field camps (EG).

if you build it they will come
Here is a view from a slightly different angle...this and the previous photo are from the end of November (EG)
broadcast booth
And a few days later, this hut, the "Centennial Shack," was installed near the Ceremonial Pole...to be used by the Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg, for a broadcast marking the anniversary of Amundsen's arrival (Norway press release) (CA).
getting wired at Pole
Here the IT folks are running ethernet and electrical out to the hut from under the station (CA).
fly me to the moon, er, Pole
Here's another view of the visitors center complex...7 December, the tourists were already starting to arrive; this is one of the ALCI Baslers bringing visitors in from Novo. Their tents are in the background (EG).
testing one two
A closeup of the Centennial Shack...Daniel Leussler is inside setting things up (CA).
National Park Service passes accepted
And this is a closeup of the visitor center. This is a Rac-Tent... the latest and greatest upgrade from the old Jamesway (CA).
does this compute
Setting up the display computers inside the visitor center. Note the zero-energy solar light fixtures (CA)!
show and tell
Another view of the inside with the displays and exhibits completed. The building is off the SP power grid (AC).
some like it hot

And here's the latest safest and most efficient stove, a "Kuma" (a new version of the old Preway heater) to keep things toasty (CA).
do not slam the door!
Another outside view, looking toward the elevated station (AC).
off the grid
This overall view of the area shows the solar panels and the tourist camp in the distance. The connecting road was constructed along the 0 meridian (ZS).
keep right
West of the station on the approach route...some marker signs were installed (AC)...
no right turn on red
...to keep folks from stumbling into antennas, IceTop holes, Old Pole, or whatever (AC).
tent sites available
Here's the sign pointing the way to the tourist camp area. I'm told that there were no sites with hookups...(KC)
please don't feed the bears
A closer view of the campground, which was financed, set up and maintained by Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (AL&E) (SL).
sign here please
Last but not least, here's the new station sign, as well as a hero shot of the carpenters responsible for it (LC).

Note...my coverage of the actual centenary events begins here....

prime sites available, southern exposure
By the end of January, everything was gone but the blue
sign. Compare this to the above photos (CP).
long term airport parking
Well, not quite everything was gone...this broken down ALE van was left halfway between the NGO camp and MAPO. They promised to retrieve it the next season (if they can find it) (JG).

Credits...Ethan Good (EG), Carla Appel (CA),The Antarctic Connection (no longer around) (AC), Kiell Kosberg (KC), Laura Conchelos (LC), Sven Lidstrom (Antarctic Photo Library) (SL), Carlos Pobes (CP), and Jase Grimm (JG). Thanks!

Next... a look at some of the energy saving improvements completed (or at least studied) this season.

construction photo index | aerial photo index