This week saw the first group head off for traverse training. This included an overnight camp out on the edge of the plateau and a full dress rehearsal of our crevasse probing and SAR (search and rescue) techniques. This trip, while it was a serious training environment, was met with much excitement as it was a big tick for many in the regard of camping out in a tent on the edge of the vast Antarctic continent.
The team departed station bright (dark) and early Thursday morning for the plateau. We convoyed the Hägglunds out across the sea ice picking a path a little closer to the shore than usual as we’d experienced some strange weather phenomenon known as wind during the past week and the outer edge of the sea ice had been blown away. This was strange for us here at Davis as the weather has been all but flawless all season. After arriving at the edge of the moraine line on the plateau we consulted the contours on the maps and picked a few likely spots to set up camp, soon enough a suitable spot was chosen. Using the Hägglunds as a wind break we started setting up the tents, this proved to be a great learning experience, working our gloved hand finesse camp soon took shape and we settled in for a cuppa.
Before getting too comfortable we decided to crack straight on with our crevasse-probing training. We drove out several kilometers from camp, roped up, harnessed up and began the slow trek/probe back to camp, with a cracking pace of 100 metres per five minutes. We were grateful for the steep learning curve as the wind was starting to pick up.
On Friday morning after a blustery night in the tent we packed up camp and headed back down the ‘hill’ to Plough Island, which had a good snow bank on which to practice our rope rescue technique. Completing this we headed home to station for well anticipated warm shower.