One of the duties some expeditioners perform while on station is to be part of the Search and Rescue (SAR) team.
Last week the SAR team conducted two days of training. They covered the basics of setting up anchors in both rock and ice/snow, belaying someone down slopes, abseiling and lowering/raising a stretcher with an attendant.
The first day involved rock anchors and lowering a stretcher with three attendants down a slope. This proved a valuable lesson on how difficult it is to tie knots and operate effectively when the wind chill is approaching minus 40oC, but we were treated to a gorgeous pink and purple Antarctic sky while doing so.
The next day was about ice and snow anchors. We started the morning in the dark on the sea ice drilling V thread anchors, and then continued with making snow anchors on station. After we had practiced this, we went off station to set up on a large blizz tail to practice belaying, and abseiling down the side of it.
This concluded our initial training, but we will continue to train every month for the rest of the year to improve our skills and understanding of the systems.
Matt Spencer (SCTO)