The ferocious Fang

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This week at Mawson: 7 February 2014
This ambiguous title does relate to an animal, metaphorically speaking. Antarctica presents many challenges on many levels and this title relates to one of mine, a mountain called Fang.

I am just a suburban boy, (to quote Dave Warner from “The Suburbs”) and a sandgroper to boot. You really have to go hunting in the Porongurups, in the South West of W.A., to find anything a climber would show a flicker of interest in.

Our intrepid leader said, “Look if you want to go climbing, get onto the climbing wall in the Green Store first.”

So I did, and after my induction, our Field Training Officer John, a kindly, patient gentleman, brought me into the world of “On belay, climb when ready.”

Next I needed a destination and a posse.

I had Fang in mind because I had been into the David Range before and a hut sits right at Fang’s base. Keldyn developed a plan and John and I became his accomplices in crime.

Fang is 1005 metres high and is named because it resembles a dog’s canine tooth in profile. We climbed from the hut on the western side through a short scree slope to a ridge and onto the climb proper.

John’s expertise was confidence-inspiring and his professional approach comes with a money back guarantee. We roped up twice through the more exposed (read, scary) sections.

The last ten metres were the most challenging for me and I needed close instruction (read, John did carry me on his back) to be able to summit.

However, it was sweet to overcome ones fears and triumph over this climb.

Why do it? It is a physical pursuit, it requires technical know-how and it absorbs you which are all great for the brain box.

Thanks to John and Keldyn for inviting me along.

Mal Vernon

Mawson climbing wall
All in all it's just another ... the Mawson climbing wall
(Photo: Malcolm Vernon)
Expeditioner sitting in the rocks on a belay stop near Fang Peak
Keldyn takes a breather on a belay ledge
(Photo: Malcolm Vernon)
Expeditioner belays a rope along the ridge of the peak
John on belay duties
(Photo: Malcolm Vernon)
Distant peak on the icy plateau
A distant peak in the otherwise great white hell
(Photo: Malcolm Vernon)
Expeditioner wearing helmet and harness at the start of Fang Peak climb
Keldyn mentally prepares for the climb
(Photo: Malcolm Vernon)
The dark rock of the Casey range rises out of the ice plateau
The Casey Range to the west
(Photo: Malcolm Vernon)
One man holds the rope secure while the other lowers himself over the edge of the Fang Peak.
Keldyn approaching the belay ledge
(Photo: Malcolm Vernon)
Mt Parsons is a dark rock peak rising out of the icy surrounds.
Mt Parson looms to the north
(Photo: Malcolm Vernon)
The author smiling on the summit with Fang Peak Mt Elliott behind.
Mal on the summit, Mt Elliott behind.
(Photo: Malcolm Vernon)
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