Mawson expeditioners take a field trip to Fang hut and complete search and rescue training.

Fang hut

Over the weekend four of us decided to head off station and do some walking around the David Ranges. Based out of Fang hut, the plan was to follow the ridge line to Mt Elliot and also explore some of the wind scours on the other side of the ranges from the hut. Unfortunately the weather changed our plans.

Rather uniquely for Mawson, we had no wind but plenty of snow fall. Beautiful, fat snowflakes started falling just as we drove around the base of Fang, up towards the hut. For the three days we were there, the snow kept falling blanketing the slopes and hut in soft powder. We explored the ridges and wind scours around the hut and played in the snow during the brief breaks of sunshine. But a good portion of our time was spent inside the hut, reading, relaxing and playing board games.

It was a lovely weekend and a chance to enjoy snowfall that’s not often encountered at Mawson.

Search and rescue exercise

Here at Mawson this week we engaged in a search and rescue (SAR) training exercise which involves all on station.

With a SAR training exercise, or a real SAR, all personnel and resources are required to be ready to go with the appropriate mobile rescue equipment to locate a missing person, stabilize the patient, move to a safe location, and transport the patient back to the well-appointed station medical facility.

As Antarctic expeditioners working down south, we all are involved in SAR training before we leave Australia, on the ship journey down, and at regular intervals through-out our time here on station.

We are directed in our SAR training by one of the most experienced field training officers in the Australian Antarctic Division, John — his knowledge and background in this area is extensive. Assisting John with the training is Kate, our doctor, and with this medical input we are ready to take on any SAR incident that may arise.

Our SAR training exercise this week was at Rouse Island, five kilometres off station. All persons on station were briefed on the exercise then the SAR team prepared their equipment and headed off. 

After a short search, the ‘patient’ John was located, stabilized, and then stretched out and down the rocks to the waiting SAR Hägglunds on the sea ice, then back to station.

Thanks to all involved.