Trials and tasks for the traverse team to tackle, for tractable trailblazing in tractors

Casey's traverse team forges ahead

Firstly, what is traverse?

Traverse at Casey ultimately involves travelling across approximately 1200km of ice and snow from Casey to Dome C during the summer months, like a travelling circus.

How do we do it?

The convoy includes Challenger tractors, snow groomers, sleds loaded with accommodation and kitchen vans, generators, workshop and thousands of litres of fuel.

Who does it?

The team can consist of many expeditioner types including diesos, medical, sparkies, scientists and more.

Why do we do it?

To support the Million Year Ice Core (MYIC) project. The aim of this project is to drill and recover an ice core to a depth of around 3000m. This will be the 'oldest' continuous ice core, providing data extending well over a million years into the past.

How long will it take?

Travel will take approximately 12-14 days each way, snow conditions and weather permitting of course :)

But wait!

Firstly we are planning to have a mini trial run with our traverse equipment.

Within the next month, we will be travelling to Law Dome summit to complete an annual service on one of our automated weather stations (AWS). To get to Law Dome, we will travel east from Casey for approximately 130km, reaching an elevation of 1395m.

We will then put a small selection of our new equipment through its paces.

In the meantime there is plenty of preparation to be done. So for Sharon, Gavin and myself, it is non-stop.

I have spent the last two weeks making two curved polycarbonate windows for two of our tractors whose windows were broken in one of our last blizzards. I spend a lot of my time maintaining and updating equipment for anything that needs repairing, or could become an issue down the track. One of the regular jobs we need to keep on top of is clearing snow from around the sleds, tractors and groomers to prevent them from becoming buried.

We also have to plan out other important logistics, considering questions such as, "Do we have enough coffee, Tim Tams and toilet paper?"

There is never a dull moment, with plenty of things to consider and plan for.

-Jason Lithgow (Traverse team)

One hundred days of ice cream: the next chapter

It has been well established over many winters at Antarctic stations that (1) a full belly is the first layer of defence against extreme cold, (2) that expeditioners take this health and safety advice well to heart (and stomach), (3) that the station chef very skilfully expedites expeditioners' self-insulation endeavours, while (4) the station doctor shakes his/her head in dismay as the numbers on the scales tick upwards at every monthly weigh-in.

This year's team at Casey is doing things a little differently. Not only is the station as a whole keeping in excellent shape, but one begins to suspect there is some sort of stratagem at play to make us healthier by sneaking not just fruits, but also vegetables into our desserts.

This week's ice cream flavours were:

  • Milo and toasted marshmallow
  • Reduced balsamic and strawberry
  • Apple and shortbread crumble
  • Grilled sweetcorn and blackberry
  • Roast carrot and honey

If this is not outright evidence of collusion between chef and doctor, it is at least another flavoursome and fanciful chapter in Casey's continuing ice cream odyssey.