Last Friday saw seven of us — that’s six to be trained (Brad, Jason, Ben, Clinton, Danny and Ali) and one trainer (Heidi) — head up onto the plateau for our survival training.
The weather had been blowing persistently all day, but didn’t appear to be getting any worse. So after going through the procedures to leave station properly, we hopped onto the quad bikes laden with everything required and left late in the afternoon — just as the fire alarm sounded. We ensured that the station was not in any danger before heading up via the steep climb known as Gwamm to the ice plateau and beyond.
Once up on the plateau we felt the full force of the wind that was screaming down the plateau towards the coast. This was the first real test of our ability to clothe ourselves properly. Outer wind proof and warm inner layers being the only thing between us and the Antarctic temperatures, which are lowered even more by the wind.
Once within the shelter of Rumdoodle Hut we prepared dehydrated meals for tea and warmed up before a restful night’s sleep… The wind howled, the snow petrels chirped and the bivvies rustled like chip packets but those of us outdoors for the night were oblivious after the day’s efforts.