After months of careful planning, numerous reconnaissance missions for access routes, and some timely offerings to the weather gods, the trip to Taaffe Ridge set off. Being a destination only accessible by foot in winter, and outside of the typical well trodden paths around Davis, Taaffe can often go unvisited for years at a time. But the team was ready to break new ground for the season.
With conditions differing from year to year, an intrepid new approach route was planned, and our supportive Field Training Officer agreed to come along to ensure we didn't get ourselves into any trouble. After some initial probing, a parking spot was found for the Häggs, and we began our walk-in past towering wind scours, and impressive rock formations. Although snow blowing from the nearby plateau initially threatened, conditions for the walk proved perfect, with wall-to-wall sunshine and not a breath of wind. The dusting of new snow from the storm the night before made the trip especially picturesque, and after a few hours of exploring promising red herrings and foreboding saddles, we eventually found our way down onto the frozen surface of the lake at the base of Taaffe Ridge.
Time was spent marvelling at the impressive ice walls, taking photos of intriguing ice crystals on the lake surface, and refuelling on sandwiches. When Jono had finally finished with his calendar shots, we started back out for the return leg, making it back to the Häggs in time for a casual drive back to Brookes hut, where the blizzard that had been looming over us finally caught up. We fully enjoyed the refuge of the cosy shelter, with cheese and warming drinks to help the yarns from the day flow, and cement the day’s trip as a great success on all fronts.