Just saw an advertisement for “Ice Road Truckers” on the History Channel. Looks like a variation on the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” except with trucks instead of fishing boats. Winter travel on the slope in winter is mostly done on ice roads, to protect the tundra from vehicle tracks. Below is a picture of a tank truck that rolled over last winter on the ice road near the Alpine satellite field. The driver lost a contact lens (it’s very dry up there, hard on contacts) and pulled over for safety, but the truck slid off the road and rolled. The truck ended up spilling diesel fuel onto a nearby frozen pond.
One impact of global warming is that the winter exploration season, which relies on ice roads for access, is getting shorter and shorter. Fifteen years ago the ice road season was around 150 days. Now it’s averaging around 120 days. At the present rate, it won’t be too long before the ice road season won’t be long enough to build an ice road, erect the rig, drill, and demobilize before the ice road melts.