One of our operational tasks for 2015 was to visit and inspect a fuel depot and shelter in the Stillwell Hills, 150 kilometres west of station. Preparations for the trip began in July, with familiarisation and planning meetings running through until mid September.
For the trip we organised:
- Two Hägglunds
- ~800 L of fuel
- 180 L of water
- Frozen meals to last six people eight nights, and breakfasts and lunches for same
- Four survival ration packs
- Two polar pyramids
- A multitude of other equipment, tools, and bedding
The six expeditioners embarking on the trip also participated in a first aid refresher, training sessions for the use of communication equipment (satellite phone, HF radio) and in the pitching of the polar pyramids.
Once preparations were complete we began the delicate and painstaking procedure known as “waiting for the weather”. From 12 September we were in daily consultation with a forecaster from the Bureau of Meteorology. In typical glorious Mawson fashion, it wasn’t until 21 September that we had a favourable weather window for travel — nine days without consecutive good travel weather!.
Fortunately, ‘Team Met' pulled through with typical proficiency and produced five days of glorious weather for our adventures, which will be detailed in future editions.