Summit Station

Download the Summit Guide.

Flags of the US, Greenland, and Denmark fly at Summit Station, which is funded and managed by the U.S. National Science Foundation in cooperation with the Government of Greenland.

Flags of the US, Greenland, and Denmark fly at Summit Station.

SummitBigHouseRobinCarroccia

The Big House. Photo: Robin Carroccia

Summit Station (72° 36′ North,  38° 25′ West), a research platform at the summit of the Greenland ice sheet, has been in operation since 1988. The National Science Foundation funds and manages the station in cooperation with the Government of Greenland. Located at 72°  36′ N latitude, and at an altitude of 10,600 feet with a mean annual air temperature of -31°, Summit Station has long challenged the physical fitness of its visitors.

The station consists of three primary structures, with temporary shelters erected seasonally.  The permanent facilities include the Big House, the camps primary building, with kitchen, dining area, and office spaces, and which houses a complete bathroom and laundry facility; the Green House/Berthing Module, a joint science laboratory and berthing facility with lab and office facilities; and the Shop, a Weatherport generator shelter that also is used for maintenance of rolling stock.  A redundant 100 kW diesel generator system provides all of the electricity on station (actual capacity at 10,600 feet ~ 70 kW).  The generator rejects heat through a snow melter to supply water to the facilities.  The permanent facilities are mostly heated with electric space heat and lighted with fluorescent fixtures.

The following information provides a general overview of the station. Researchers proposing/planning to work at Summit should download the Summit Guide for more information.

    • Access – Visitors access Summit Station by aircraft landing on a 15,000′ by 200′ snow runway. Station personnel prepare and groom the landing area for ski-equipped aircraft.
    • Lodging – During the summer, most visitors sleep in unheated tents (Arctic Ovens). During the winter, personnel lodge indoors.
    • Communications – Summit is equipped with a Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Internet system and telephone link, HF radio, Inmarsat Standard-C telex, and one lnmarsat Mini-M satellite telephone. Email, data transfers, and telephone access are available to researchers and staff.
    • Postal Mail – Incoming mail is flown from Kangerlussuaq during each flight period in summer. Outgoing mail is delivered back to Kangerlussuaq. All mail service is via international mail through Denmark, and takes approximately one week from the US to the Greenland coast. When sending mail to Summit, allow an additional one-to-two weeks.
    • Food Services – Summit Station is staffed with a cook, who provides meals six days a week. On Sunday all camp personnel are asked to assist with meals.
    • Medical Services – CPS contracts with Medical Advisory Services (MAS) for all locations.  During April-August, an on-site paramedic at Summit provides on-call medical advice at all times for emergency and non-emergency medical issues. In addition all camps have at least one Wilderness First Responder certified staff member responsible for coordinating all medical issues.
    • Altitude Sickness – For additional altitude advice, download our High Altitude Illness Information Sheet.
    • Telephone – Project-related phone calls and limited personal calls may be made from Summit using a telephone with a US exchange. Calls are billed with Florida as the origin. Inbound calls or faxes to Summit are possible.
    • Webcam –  Watch the Summit Station webcam.
    • Additional Information – Check out the Greenland Environmental Observatory website.
For a slideshow of full-size photos and complete captions, click on an image below.