Visits to Fang Peak and Twintops took us out and about this week.

The ferocious Fang

This ambiguous title does relate to an animal, metaphorically speaking. Antarctica presents many challenges on many levels and this title relates to one of mine, a mountain called Fang.

I am just a suburban boy, (to quote Dave Warner from “The Suburbs”) and a sandgroper to boot. You really have to go hunting in the Porongurups, in the South West of W.A., to find anything a climber would show a flicker of interest in.

Our intrepid leader said, “Look if you want to go climbing, get onto the climbing wall in the Green Store first.”

So I did, and after my induction, our Field Training Officer John, a kindly, patient gentleman, brought me into the world of “On belay, climb when ready.”

Next I needed a destination and a posse.

I had Fang in mind because I had been into the David Range before and a hut sits right at Fang’s base. Keldyn developed a plan and John and I became his accomplices in crime.

Fang is 1005 metres high and is named because it resembles a dog’s canine tooth in profile. We climbed from the hut on the western side through a short scree slope to a ridge and onto the climb proper.

John’s expertise was confidence-inspiring and his professional approach comes with a money back guarantee. We roped up twice through the more exposed (read, scary) sections.

The last ten metres were the most challenging for me and I needed close instruction (read, John did carry me on his back) to be able to summit.

However, it was sweet to overcome ones fears and triumph over this climb.

Why do it? It is a physical pursuit, it requires technical know-how and it absorbs you which are all great for the brain box.

Thanks to John and Keldyn for inviting me along.

Mal Vernon

Twintops visited

Having been given a short reprieve from being forcibly deported back to Australia, a number of us headed inland to an area that has been identified as a possible alternative lading site for Mawson.

We travelled through the famed Horden Gap and out to Mount Twintops. On arrival we soon found that the area at the way point was more snow-covered than blue ice, but fortunately an area just north seemed suitable. Having chosen a site we marked it, and made camp near the mountain.

After a bit of dinner we climbed up the scree slopes to the peak. Close to the top there is a small cache of food under an unusually large and out-of-place rock. Right at the top we found a drum marker that has been signed be passers-by all the way back to the 70’s. There was also a small broken glass jar with a piece of paper signed by crews as far back as 1958.

We made it back to camp as the sun was setting, and turned in for the night. Some woke to clear plateau morning; others (somewhat involuntarily) had stayed up most of the night to experience the fresh mountain air. We made a way though a few crevasses to the site, and set to work. Soon the wind dropped and the temp rose enough to make the work quite pleasant.

We soon finished all the work required and bumped and jolted all the way home to Mawson. As always it is a great privilege to get out to areas that expeditioners let alone the wider population ever make it to.