Snowmobiles in Antarctica

J. Michael Boyles, Robin A. Schmutzler, Peter D. Rowley
1979 Arctic  
Snowmobiles are the main form of land transportation for field parties in Antarctica. Recently the United States Antarctic program turned almost exclusively to Ski-Doo Alpine 640-ER snowmobiles, the use and maintenance of which require specialized techniques. The first extensive Antarctic field test of these snowmobiles was made during three months of 1977-1978 while engaged in reconaissance geologic and topographic exploration of the Orville Coast area. Snowmobiles are used to pull large loads
more » ... of food and gear on two Nansen sledges. When crossing crevasse fields, they are driven remotely by persons on skis. To do this, modifications are made to the stock throttle to enable the engine both to be set at a constant speed and to be shorted out by pulling on a cord that trails behind the snowmobile; steering is by ropes attached to the front ski of the snowmobile. Proper "night" storage is necessary to ensure easiest starting in the morning and to minimize the effects of storms. A routine of trouble shooting that rapidly isolated and corrected engine problems included first checking spark-plugs or gas-line filters, followed by checking carburetor jet adjustments, drive belt, and oil/gas ratio. We found that Ski-Doos are well suited to Antarctica but would be more useful if carburetor fuel filters were replaced by in-line fuel filters and if snowmobiles were equipped with remote throttle controls, tachometers, speedometers, odometers, and a low-gear option. 2. Plan view of remote steering mechanism. SNOWMOBILES IN ARCTICA 193
doi:10.14430/arctic2619 fatcat:3sxnyjezcrfcrpkv355hsrr3zq