This week at Mawson: 6 January 2017

Over the festive season Mawson expeditioners celebrate Christmas and complete travel training in the Framnes Mountains.

Christmas at Mawson

Christmas and New Year celebrations on station are special times and this year at Mawson was no exception. We decorated the red shed with every tree, bauble and scrap of tinsel we could find and helped Gav, our chef, in preparations for the day.

Christmas Eve was spent finishing off the week’s work and wrapping that 'Secret Santa' gift for under the tree.

Christmas Day we enjoyed a scrumptious brunch then met upstairs near the tree with Santa and his fetching mystery helper. Each present given with a hug from Santa’s lap – and a great deal of hilarity!

Late afternoon we sat down to a Christmas buffet meal with all manner of treats including a whole table full of delicious desserts.

Needless to say we missed our family and friends at this time but celebrating in good company, we weathered it well.

A well decorated Christmas tree in Mawson's upstairs lounge area
Upstairs Christmas tree at Mawson.
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Brunch laid out in the servery at Mawson for Christmas Day
Yummy Christmas day brunch.
(Photo: Pete Hargreaves)
Santa's helper, Andrew Cook dressed as a lovely lass reading out 'Twas Christmas Night at Mawson'
Santa's mystery girl announces his arrival to the masses.
(Photo: Pete Hargreaves)
Santa, Simon White ready to deliver presents.
Santa ready for action.
(Photo: Pete Hargreaves)
The first expeditioner getting his present from Santa at Mawson 2016
Brett first on Santa's knee.
(Photo: Pete Hargreaves)
A very happy expeditioner receiving his gift from Santa at Mawson 2016
Dan's pleased to see Santa!
(Photo: Pete Hargreaves)
Shane gets his gift from Santa at Mawson 2016
Shane gets his gift from Santa.
(Photo: Pete Hargreaves)
Tony was last to receive his gift from Santa at Mawson 2016
Tony's lucky last to get his gift.
(Photo: Pete Hargreaves)
A picture of the Christmas table with napkins folded like a Christmas tree at Mawson 2016
Christmas place setting
(Photo: Pete Hargreaves)
Expeditioners lining up at the servery for Christmas Dinner Mawson 2016
Lining up for Christmas dinner.
(Photo: Pete Hargreaves)
An expeditioner lining up at the servery for Christmas dinner Mawson 2016
How to fit it all on the plate?
(Photo: Pete Hargreaves)
Gavin our chef and the food he has prepared for Christmas Dinner Mawson 2016
Gavin and the Christmas feast.
The dessert table at Mawson for Christmas Dinner 2016
The dessert table complete with individual gingerbread figures.
Mawson expeditioners sitting down for Christmas Dinner 2016
All sitting down for Christmas dinner.
A plate full of delicious Christmas food, Mawson 2016
A delicious plate full of food
(Photo: Pete Hargreaves)
The Mawson Christmas Day programme and menu for 2016
The Mawson Christmas Day programme and menu for 2016.
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Expeditioners relaxing with an after dinner darts competition
Relaxing with an after dinner darts competition.
(Photo: Danny Le Fevre)
The bottles in the home brew fridge decorated like reindeer
Even the home brew is festive!

Field training in the Framne Mountains

Before Christmas Jason, Ben and myself (Ali) along with Heidi, the Mawson field training officer, left station to complete our field travel training. Having completed survival training in adverse conditions, it was great to head off in calm and sunny conditions.

We headed first for Fang Hut nestled within the David Range, across the ice plateau. For most of the way there was cupped blue ice, then for the last few kilometres into a sea of sastrugi, before finally arriving at our destination.

We overnighted comfortably then the next day headed to the North Masson Range, diverting en route to take a look at the frozen lakes near Fearn Hill. On arrival at Rumdoodle hut Heidi put us through several training sessions that included quad recovery, ice axe arrest down into a wind scoop, cutting steps out of the wind scoop and how to erect a quad bivvy.

Mt Henderson and Hendo Hut was our destination for the evening. The approach to the hut up a sastrugi covered slope a challenging exercise for the uninitiated. We were rewarded on arrival at the hut with a magnificent view of the ice plateau, nearby ranges and the coast before us.

The next day was spent hiking in the area surrounding the hut before heading back to station in the late afternoon for a welcome shower before supper.

Four quads on the plateau for field travel training at Mawson 2016
Four quads on the plateau for field travel training.
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Ben Newport on a quad navigating to Rumdoodle hut
Ben navigating to Rumdoodle.
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Ben Newport on a quad on the plateau navigating to Rumdoodle hut near Mawson
Ben checking that those behind are OK.
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Heidi Godfrey checks out the layers of dirt in the ice in a wind scoop near Fearne Lake
Heidi checks out the layers of dirt in the ice in a…
(Photo: Ali Dean)
The expeditioners walking back down the wind scoop towards Fearne Lake in the North Masson Range
Walking back down the wind scoop towards Fearne Lake in the North…
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Hollows made by snow petrels bathing in the snow near Fearne Lake
Snow petrel public snow baths.
(Photo: Ali Dean)
A single snow petrel crater made in the snow, complete with claw prints
A single snow petrel crater complete with claw prints.
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Heidi Godfrey goes through the contents of the Quad Recovery kit
Heidi goes through the contents of the Quad recovery kit.
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Setting up anchors and rope in the ice to recover a quad correctly under Heidi Godfrey's instruction
Anchoring the quad to recover correctly.
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Two expeditioners pull the rope through the pulley system to recover the quad
Ben and Jason pull the rope through the pulley system to recover…
(Photo: Ali Dean)
A quad bivvy set up for use
A quad bivvy set up for use.
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Jason Burgers cutting steps with an ice axe
Jason cutting steps with an ice axe
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Ali Dean cutting steps out of a wind scoop
Ali cutting steps out of a wind scoop
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Heidi Godfrey, our field training officer, demonstrates a box search technique
Heidi demonstrates a box search technique.
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Heidi Godfrey heads down a scree slope towards a wind scoop
Heidi heads down a scree slope towards a wind scoop.
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Three expeditioners walking around a wind scoop near Mt Henderson
Heidi, Ben and Jason head around a wind scoop near Mt Henderson.
(Photo: Ali Dean)
The final stages of our walk back to Hendo hut
Finally nearly back to Hendo hut
(Photo: Ali Dean)
A view out over the ice plateau and along the coast from Hendo hut near Mawson
The fantastic view from Hendo Hut.
(Photo: Ali Dean)
A view of Mawson station from the Gwamm slope
On the home stretch.
(Photo: Ali Dean)