Mawson's Mountains - because they are there and we can!

The Mountains of Mawson

As our season at Mawson comes to an end, the times spent in the mountains will always be a treasured memory for me. I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to climb just a few of the hills on the plateau behind station. Climbing towards the peak of Mt Elliot in the middle of winter with a full survival backpack on was an experience that my legs will not forget in a hurry. Listening to the plateau ice cracking, seeing the changes in rock formations, as well as looking back on Mt Fang was breathtaking.

Climbing Mt Henderson was another great adventure, using ropes on the last section to reach the summit. The view from the top of Henderson provides a 360° outlook over the plateau and across the ocean up and down the coast towards Macey and Forbes Glacier.

There are many elevated lakes in the mountains. Yesterday, myself and three others (Mark Baker, Mark Grainger and Kerryn Oates) travelled to Patterned Lake in the Central Masson Ranges. During the warmer months this lake had a waterfall flowing into it which is now hidden behind a cascading shell of ice on the rocks. We climbed to a ridge above Patterned Lake and again took in 360° views of the mountain ranges around us. There are so many mountains to climb all with amazing views.

When travelling home from the plateau in a bumpy Hagg over rough sastrugi, it is always nice to get to the top of Gwamm, look towards station and know there is a flushing toilet, good food, a warm shower and a fresh change of clothes not far away.

The ever changing scene of the ocean around Mawson from thick sea ice to now open water brings with it orcas, whales, penguins and seals.

Soon it will bring a big steel ship with lots of cargo ready for re-supply.

We are waiting in anticipation.

Billy Merrick

Mawson Plumber