Over the festive season Mawson expeditioners celebrate Christmas and complete travel training in the Framnes Mountains.

Christmas at Mawson

Christmas and New Year celebrations on station are special times and this year at Mawson was no exception. We decorated the red shed with every tree, bauble and scrap of tinsel we could find and helped Gav, our chef, in preparations for the day.

Christmas Eve was spent finishing off the week’s work and wrapping that ‘Secret Santa’ gift for under the tree.

Christmas Day we enjoyed a scrumptious brunch then met upstairs near the tree with Santa and his fetching mystery helper. Each present given with a hug from Santa’s lap — and a great deal of hilarity!

Late afternoon we sat down to a Christmas buffet meal with all manner of treats including a whole table full of delicious desserts.

Needless to say we missed our family and friends at this time but celebrating in good company, we weathered it well.

Field training in the Framne Mountains

Before Christmas Jason, Ben and myself (Ali) along with Heidi, the Mawson field training officer, left station to complete our field travel training. Having completed survival training in adverse conditions, it was great to head off in calm and sunny conditions.

We headed first for Fang Hut nestled within the David Range, across the ice plateau. For most of the way there was cupped blue ice, then for the last few kilometres into a sea of sastrugi, before finally arriving at our destination.

We overnighted comfortably then the next day headed to the North Masson Range, diverting en route to take a look at the frozen lakes near Fearn Hill. On arrival at Rumdoodle hut Heidi put us through several training sessions that included quad recovery, ice axe arrest down into a wind scoop, cutting steps out of the wind scoop and how to erect a quad bivvy.

Mt Henderson and Hendo Hut was our destination for the evening. The approach to the hut up a sastrugi covered slope a challenging exercise for the uninitiated. We were rewarded on arrival at the hut with a magnificent view of the ice plateau, nearby ranges and the coast before us.

The next day was spent hiking in the area surrounding the hut before heading back to station in the late afternoon for a welcome shower before supper.