Stibbs Bay and the Stanton Islands

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This week at Mawson: 4 October 2013

Darron, Keldyn and myself (Peter C) prepared ourselves for an overnight stay at Bechervaise Island and then a day exploring the Stanton Island group and into the Stibbs Bay area as far west to the Jelbart Glacier, approximately 50km as the crow flies from Mawson Station.

We set off after dinner on Thursday with equipment and supplies packed. We also decided to take along a guitar and bongo drums for a bit of extra excitement for the night at Bechervaise Hut.

Once we settled in at the hut, played some tunes for a while we finished the night off with a few games of round the board (darts) before hitting the sack some time after midnight.

The next day we woke to clear skies and light winds and it promised to be perfect weather for exploring. We packed our gear and set off due west across Holme Bay, past the Forbes Glacier, past Low Tongue area, through the Stanton Group, into Stibbs Bay right to the very edge of the Jelbart Glacier of course stopping along the way to take photos and look around.

The day had warmed up with no wind and was the first day I had spent without all the usual cumbersome clothing, it did feel like a real treat with a chance of getting sun burnt also. We spent a good couple of hours in this area climbing to higher ground so as to take in more of the scenery and to glimpse further along the coast across the Jelbart Glacier down towards the Colbeck region.

After a quick bite to eat we headed back east hugging the coast towards the Stanton Group where we stopped for some more exploring around the Falla Bluff area. Falla Bluff is a prominent rocky coastal bluff at the head of Stibbs Bay that pokes out above the ice at 290m above sea level. We left the sea ice and made our way onto the shore and after a short walk  found a nice little frozen lake tucked in against the glacier with some nice overhanging snow. We then slowly made the climb to the top of Falla Bluff where we rested enjoying the view and the great weather.

The summit was marked with a cairn which had a plastic capsule within containing the names of previous visitors. We would have added our names but for the lack of a writing implement. Blood was mentioned but without a willing volunteer we decided to leave it for next time.

All good things must come to an end, and the day was getting on so we made our way to the Hagg and headed back to station with the promise of pizza for tea.

We would need another day or two to explore more of this area in the near future.

Peter Cubit

Two people standing inside the hut holding darts
Bechervaise dart comp
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
Crevasing near Jelbart Glacier
Crevasing near Jelbart Glacier
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
Ice bergs with small figures of people looking around them
Exploring around the bergs
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
Lake near Falla Bluff - brown rocks among the white ice
Frozen lake near Falla Bluff
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
Man stands with one leg on either side of a tide crack
Tide crack, Stibbs Bay
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
Jelbart Glacier
Jelbart Glacier
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
Cloudless sky with two quad bikes parked on the ice
Not a cloud in the sky
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
Rafted ice packed up against rocks
Rafted ice in Stibbs Bay
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
Cornice that looks like a huge white wave breaking
Snow wave
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
Two poeple sitting on the top of Falla bluff
Top of Falla Bluff
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
View to west fram Jelbart
View towards Colbeck over Jelbart
(Photo: Peter Layt)
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