The Icefield Ranges Research Project, 1974

  • K. de la Barre
  • A. Williams
Keywords: Active layer


Researchers are braving the Yukon ever earlier in the season for the Icefield Ranges Research Project (IRRP). The first group arrived at the IRRP Kluane Lake base camp (61 N, 138 W) on 15 April 1974 and the last group did not leave until 15 October. The winters of 1974 and 1975 mark the first occasion of the base camp being open year-round for two consecutive years. This innovation made possible as a result of the appointment of Mr. and Mrs. A. Williams as a resident camp-management team, is necessary scientifically because certain meteorological projects have to be conducted on a twelve-month basis, as discussed below. One hundred and four researchers and their assistants, representing nearly twenty universities, government agencies and institutions, made use of the IRRP facilities, and approximately 3,300 man-days of accommodation and subsistence were recorded. A number of improvements were made to the physical facilities; a new 24 ft x 12 ft (7.3 m x 3.7 m) utility building is now under construction, and two small trailer units have been installed by the group from the University of British Columbia as additional laboratory space for animal behavioural studies. The two ski-wheel-equipped Helio Courier aircraft of the Arctic Institute of North America performed a total of 173 hours of project-support flying, and in addition twenty hours of time of a Jet Ranger and a Hughes 400 helicopter was chartered. One of the Institute's aircraft, which was on lease to Trans North Turbo Air Limited and was engaged in commercial and tourist operations, suffered a minor accident during the field season. The largest aircraft ever to land at the base camp, a Canadian Forces Hercules transport, was used in support of the High Altitude Physiology Studies programme. ... Glacier survey project: In 1972 the Institute was awarded funds by the Glaciology Division, Department of the Environment, Ottawa, to undertake an inventory of glaciers in the St. Elias Mountains. This work was continued during 1974 by Messrs, S.G. Collins and R. Ragle. Work on the glacier basins of the Donjek River, Alsek River and Tatshenshini River was completed. To date more than 2,000 glacial features have been mapped and recorded. They concern glacier size, location and description. The Project is scheduled for completion in 1976. An extensive bibliography of the St. Elias Mountains is in preparation also and now contains more than 1,100 entries. Climatological projects: Under the direction of the Camp Manager, Mr. A. Williams, and Mr. R. Lenton of AINA, Montreal, and as part of a proposed long-range plan, two pilot climatological projects were initiated in 1974 on behalf of Environment Canada and Parks Canada. Standard and automatic stations were established in the Kluane National Park adjacent to the Slims River and at the 9,000 ft (2,700 m) Divide Station. The year-round meteorological project at Kluane Lake Base was continued in association with the Atmospheric Environment Service, Whitehorse, Y.T. ...
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