LHASA, May 13 (Xinhua) -- From a camp to being equipped with advanced instruments, the Chinese Academy of Sciences Qomolangma Station has been a witness to the 17-year-long ardor of scientists exploring the unknown.
The station is at the Rongpo river valley, Dingri County, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, 30 km away from the Mount Qomolangma base camp.
In 2005, the station's site was a barren land with gravel, and Chinese scientists did not set up any observation stations on the north slope of Qomolangma.
Ma Yaoming, the first head of the station, said due to the need for scientific research, building an observation station on the north slope was put on the agenda.
The scientific research team members carried out the station building and research and observation tasks simultaneously. They set up a tent under Mount Qomolangma.
He recalled that on the third day at the base camp, they woke from a crackling sound and saw the starry sky. It turned out a strong wind had lifted the top of the tent.
With this experience, Ma Yaoming strengthened his determination to establish a field station for monitoring and long-term residence.
To find an ideal place to build a station, he traveled and searched for months. When he returned home, his 10-year-old daughter failed to recognize him because of his tan from the high-altitude sunlight.
Ma Weiqiang, the current head of the station, said that he was a doctoral student of Ma Yaoming at the beginning of the station's establishment. He recalled that the road from Shigatse City to the station was bumpy. People sitting in the car would bump their heads against the roof, and the car even broke down halfway.
"The rain was heavy in June and July. At that time, I was afraid that the flash floods would rush the car away, and I felt helpless. I waited from the afternoon until 2 a.m. before a big car came to pull our car to the county seat," said Ma Weiqiang.
Cranes were necessary for the erection of instruments at the station. However, the road conditions to the village were so poor that no crane driver was willing to come. He could only mobilize the locals to carry the instruments themselves.
There was also no mobile phone signal at the foot of Mount Qomolangma, so the builders could only go from the station to the nearby Chotsong Village to contact the outside world with the fixed-line telephone.
Ma Weiqiang experienced the expansion process of the station from a tent to a movable board house to a building. He also witnessed its growth from an atmospheric physics observation station to a comprehensive observation station covering the atmospheric environment, glaciers, hydrology, ecology, and geophysics.
"We have filled the gap in China's scientific research observation in the Mount Qomolangma region, and our team also made many achievements that we are proud of," said Ma Yaoming. ■