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Khumbu Glacier

November 14 2014
We will be using our OpenROV "Sandy" to map supra-glacial lakes on Khumbu Glacier, Nepal

November 14 2014


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Preparation Stage

Hi Everyone,

I'll start with the bad news - unfortunately, owing to the recent earthquake in Nepal, Sandy's trip to the glaciers will have to be postponed until the second field season, spring next year. This is due to not being able to access the Everest research base (the only source of power available to charge batteries). We are still excited for the prospect of OpenROV on the Khumbu glacier and hope you are too.

The good news is that the recent field test went well, and the even better news is that Sandy is currently on her way to Norway as part of a project looking into jellyfish ecology (PhD project of a friend of mine from the Natural History Museum), so stay tuned for some updates there.

Again, sorry for the disappointing news




Sorry for the silence, here's an update on our build

Sandy has had her first dip and, barring a couple of teething problems, it was a success! Should be taking her out in the next couple of weeks to explore a local reservoir and test out some of the functions

It's been great fun building her so far and looking forward to the next stages


I'd love to write up a bit more on your expedition! How are things going? Free to chat sometime on a Google Hangout??

Update on the build - everything went smoothly and was finished in about a day and a half - had great fun building it and very proud of my first soldering in more than 10 years

Next stage is get it tested in a local pool and then off into the outdoors we go


It's very exciting to know that an OpenROV is headed to Nepal. There are two other explorers tentatively planning to build ROVs for the lakes up there, but seeing as you have one already built, perhaps there could be some collaboration!
How are things going? Just about ready to pool test?

That's really interesting, thanks Erika, would be great to hear from them.

Things are going well, immersion tested the ROV last week (w/out batteries + electronics) - did get a small flood in the starboard battery tube but think its sorted now. Hopefully a new update soon

Sandy arrived just before christmas so next stage is to build her. Spent some of the morning ordering various tools, resins etc. that we'll need to build. Bought her a nice snug pelican case yesterday to protect her on her way to Nepal

Photos of build to follow

The plan for the next few months is to get Sandy built and tested (e.g. in a pool) before her first sea trial/ research in the summer (English Channel, off Falmouth - likely July)

Keeping a close eye on the positioning system guys too

Thanks to all the followers for their interest and if any seasoned OROVers fancy giving some top tips, I'd love to hear them


Very cool expedition! I can't wait to see the build of the 2.7. The pelican case is a needed for safe transport of the ROV. We ordered ours and are anxiously waiting for its arrival.

Expedition Background

Mapping Supra-glacial lakes along the Khumbu Glacier, Nepal

The OpenROV will be used for data collection in supraglacial lakes during two field campaigns on the Khumbu Glacier, the highest in the world. Khumbu glacier features extensive debris cover on its surface and is currently downwasting and stagnating, prompting the development of lakes on its surface. These further contribute to glacial melt as well as acting as storage reservoirs for water that would otherwise be discharged from the glacier as meltwater. Understanding water supply variability is especially important for monitoring the response of glaciers to climactic variation, but the remote location of field sites in the Himalayas means data are often limited both spatially and temporally.

We will use the OpenROV to measure temperature and depth in these supra-glacial lakes. This will help improve existing empirical equations, which use lake area to estimate water depth and volume in data poor regions, thus ground-truthing measurements made from satellite images.

Collecting distributed temperature measurements across a number of lakes will improve our understanding of how important these lakes are for enhancing melt and influencing glacial morphology.


What a great adventure in the making! Would love to go to Nepal, what an amazing place on earth.
Best of luck with your project. Please keep us posted!

Thanks Benoit, just getting started out with OpenExplorer. I work in a geography dept. with lots of researchers from many different fields so I'm hoping to get a good range of expeditions (I am a marine ecologist so will definitely have to take it to sea sometime)