View Full Version : Prudhoe Bay / North Slope

06-17-2015, 10:59 AM
Just got back from a trip up to the Slope... that was a 32 hour shift. Didn't take too many pictures because we were under the gun to get a cell site upgraded and back on the air with minimal downtime - and besides, I was exhausted. But I did take a few shots, for those that are interested.

The North Slope is on the northern coast of AK, and it's where the Alaska Pipeline begins. All of the Big Oil players are up there, naturally, and operations go 24/7 year round. It's impressive seeing billions of dollars worth of Heavy Equipment all parked, waiting for the next winter to continue working.

Keep in mind that this is the area that Greenpeace and the other environmental nutjobs & ignorant politicians describe as "Pristine Alaskan Wilderness" when campaigning against drilling in ANWR. The whole area is a barren swamp in reality.

Right now, the sun is always above the horizon and it never gets dark. I took this at 2 AM yesterday while taking a smoke break.

06-17-2015, 11:01 AM
Good to seeya, Rick! Be safe. I would off myself if it looked like that at 2am. I NEED darkness. I would be like Al Pacino in 'Insomnia' and literally go nuts trying to find pure darkness.

How long ya be there?

06-17-2015, 11:03 AM
This is Colleen Lake. Still got quite a bit of ice on it, but the open water doubled in size just in the time we were there.

The small buildings you see on the other side of the lake are operational oil wells.


06-17-2015, 11:21 AM
Even though I know better, I didn't bring all of my tools along because my co-worker had already shipped up his tools prior to us arriving. I just brought tools in my carry-on that I knew I would need and left the rest at home. Naturally, this job turned out to have lots of surprises and I needed quite a few more tools that I didn't have with me. Happens every time I don't bring my usual tool overkill.

Turns out I needed a 9/16" deepwell socket and I realized this at 3 AM. So we drove over to the huge hardware store that is open 24/7 like everything else up there, and my coworker bought a cheap-o socket set that costs 8 bucks anywhere else for the reasonable price of $85.99. The pirate behind the counter didn't even have the grace to blush.

Oh yeah. I told him to mount it in his living room. The 9/16 socket got used for about 2 minutes total. Pic taken at about 3 AM.

06-17-2015, 11:30 AM
Some of the behemoth drilling rigs. They're parked here during the summer months for maintenance and when the freeze sets in, they're put onto monster trucks and moved to the drill site. When this happens, the whole highway is shut down because the top speed for this event is 4 MPH and these take up the entire road. They have people walking along on all sides keeping a close eye on anything that starts to go wrong and it takes hours to get anywhere at that kind of speed.

The roads are very limited so when this is going on, everyone else up there that needs to get somewhere just turn around and go do something else - usually there is no alternate route to take.


06-17-2015, 11:31 AM
NT - I want to job-shadow you for a day :)

06-17-2015, 11:32 AM
More drilling rigs.


06-17-2015, 11:43 AM
Good to seeya, Rick! Be safe. I would off myself if it looked like that at 2am. I NEED darkness. I would be like Al Pacino in 'Insomnia' and literally go nuts trying to find pure darkness.

How long ya be there?

Oh, I'm back home now, got back last night. I was on the clock for 32 hours... we flew up, worked until the job was done and was able to catch a flight back to Anchorage about an hour after we finished up - the timing was perfect, and that's why I didn't get as many pics as I intended. But I was fried - I'm no spring chicken anymore and these whirlwind tours get harder and harder. Must be getting old and soft!

As far as the 24/7 sunlight... nah, you get used to it. There are some people who claim it really messes with their body and mind, but when you get tired enough, you'll sleep.

06-17-2015, 11:45 AM
NT - I want to job-shadow you for a day :)

Sure! I can always use another hand to hump those cell site batteries in and out of the building! Those bastards are heavy and fragile... I prefer to do all the electronics upgrades and software work, but the battery change-out/upgrade has to be done too. I guess it's my version of working out at the gym!

06-17-2015, 11:51 AM
This is what the North Slope looks like. Millions of tiny lakes surrounded by swampy muskeg / tundra as far as the eye can see. No hills or mountains or trees, but there are a shitload of mosquitoes. I heard a bunch of Canadian Geese somewhere in the distance, honking all night long as they were nesting, but I never did see where they were.

Deadhorse airport on the left.

06-17-2015, 12:01 PM
Flying from Deadhorse to Barrow, about halfway there. The arctic ocean still frozen pretty solidly.

See the polar bears?


06-17-2015, 12:04 PM
Coming in back over land a few miles out of Barrow. Pretty desolate scenery, and I can't imagine why anyone would voluntarily live out there.


06-17-2015, 12:08 PM
Barrow, Alaska.


06-17-2015, 12:11 PM
Interesting natural patterns out there in the muskeg. I can't imagine how horrific the mosquitoes are with this kind of terrain surrounding Barrow during the summer months.


06-17-2015, 12:15 PM
Thanks for all the pictures. I love pictures!

06-17-2015, 12:15 PM
Thanks for those, great pics!

06-17-2015, 12:19 PM
And just for the hell of it... some random scenery somewhere north of the Yukon River, hundreds of miles from anywhere, enroute from Barrow to Fairbanks.

I'd really like to take my boat and go explore this river... I'd wager the fishing is incredible.