Saturday 20 April 2013

Winter Trip No 1 – Saturday

On the way up.
(Photo: Malcy)
(Photo: Malcy)
In the morning we took the camp down which took a couple of hours and was quite exhausting. We got back to the caboose at around 1pm and had a bowl of soup to warm up. Afterwards we went to do a little climb on Vals (that is where we usually go skiing on weekends and in the summer on evenings as well). It was mixed climbing (snow, ice and rock) which was really good fun in retrospect (type 2 fun – not much fun at the time but definitely when you look back at it). I was absolutely exhausted at the time but am glad that I did it. We got home around 5pm (it was quite a weird feeling when I finally saw the base again when we driving along the traverse: Rothera is the place where I sleep, eat, work, spend my free time and have fun but until now I had not realised that I happily call it home J ). Hello shower! I did miss you a little. Roll on next winter trip!

Home sweet home!

Friday 19 April 2013

Winter Trip No 1 – Friday

Skiing the day before. Look at all
the stuff we have to carry with us!
(Photo: Malcy)
windy/snowy weather

After yesterdays amazing day we had another day of lie up (surprise surprise ...). We watched 2 movies (Ipad comes in handy here ...) and played another game of chess (yes, I won this time!). We had awesome sausage and mash for dinner (I had lots of sweetcorn added to mine). Steve and Tom came over in the evening again. Tomorrow we will be heading back to base.

And this is what we call a poo tent. After I explained how we wee,
I thought it might be interesting to point out where we poo!

Thursday 18 April 2013

Winter Trip No 1 – Thursday

Inside the
(Photo: Malcy)


Pictures just don't do it jsutice.

This day certainly made up for all the lie up we have had so far. We finally managed to

Inside the crevasse.

get out! For the whole day!!! Whoop whoop!
We left at around 9.30am and drove with our skidoos and sledges to Sunnysite Bowl. On the way there my sledge fell over which I thought was quite funny. Once we got there Malcy put some flags up on the slope to mark the safe way for skiing downhill. We both had a couple of runs (driving that skidoo up the slope scared me quite a bit ...). With every run I did I managed to start off higher and higher up on the slope.

Coming out of the crevasse (Photo: Malcy)

Later on Malcy found the crevasse again which Bel and he visited on their winter trip a couple of weeks earlier. We went in and it was pretty awesome! We were able to get down for about 50m when we had to stop. It is not really possible to describe their magnificence but especially with the sun lighting them up in all kinds of blue and white they just look so impressive.
We skied back down afterwards and had a break and some food.

Malcy just leaving the crevasse.

Afterwards, we ski-toured up to the summit of Sunnysite Bowl. Luckily the sun came out and we were able to see the awesome view from the top! The summit was called Max which is one of the Stoke peaks (they are all named after dogs from back in the day when they still had dogs down here). We skied back down and I didn’t fall over quite as much as I expected.

On top of Max. (Photo: Malcy)

However, most of the way I spend doing pizzas (snowplow) and looking rather awkward. But it was FUN!

On the bottom of Sunnysite Bowl.

We did lots and lots more runs. Steve and Tom joined us later in the afternoon. Eventually, absolutely knackered, we left and had Chilli for dinner once we got back. 

View from Max.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Winter Trip No 1 – Wednesday

Yummie homemade dessert.
And that's what inside the tent looks like.
Tent burried in snow.

So, what happened today? I finally peed like a man (standing up and outside instead of in the poo tent into a bottle) and brushed my teeth looking at the Milky Way.
Other than that we had an all die lie up. I took measurements for Rose (our doctor) who is doing a project on CO levels in the blood when the stoves are on (also measuring wind conditions, what is being done with the stove – ie. melting ice for water or cooking or frying, temperature and whether the tent door is open or not).

Tent in the night.

We played chess (I lost – grumble), I read my book and Steve and Tom came

Tilly lamp deicing the inside of the tent.

over for dinner (Spaetzle with cheese sauce and meatballs). We rounded the evening off with homemade strawberry ice cream (Strawberry Angle Delight + condensed milk + snow + chocolate bits from a bar of chocolate). YUMMIE!
Cheese talked to us on scheds this night and told us that the weather was looking much better for the next day. Better have an early night than!

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Winter Trip No 1 – Tuesday

And this is Hangover Buttress.

When we woke up on Tuesday morning, the weather was too bad in order to go out to do anything. So, the only option was lie up again ... So, we spend the time reading and playing UNO.
At around 12pm the weather lightened up a bit and we were able to get out (yippie!). We went to Hangover Buttress to do some climbing. The actual route we did was called Scratchpad (a Grade 2 ice climb) which was about 90m long.

Way to go!

After parking the skidoos at the feet of the mountain, we first walked up a snow slope. The whole thing was about ½ ice and ½ snow climb. We quickly turned around at the top as it started crapping out again - blowing snow into our faces as we abseiled down. The drive back was quite interesting too as the contrast was not quite as good anymore and on top of that my skidoo helmet (very much like a motorcycle helmet) kept fogging up. After a while that fog started sticking to

Nice view for now.

the visor and it got quite icy (joys of Antarctica)...
When we go out on winter trips the skidoos are connected to each other in case one of them falls through a crevasse (we clip ourselves onto the skidoos). The field assistant drives in the front – next comes a sledge with luggage – another line and then my skidoo – and the last thing is another sledge connected to my

Skidoos and sledges looking tiny.

skidoo (mostly 15m lines between every link). When we go to different sites from our campsite, we still have to take the sledges with emergency kit (in case the weather gets so bad that we cannot get back to the campsite or the skidoo break down or similar).

and than the weather crapped out ...

When we left from Hangover Buttress, the first bit was relatively steep (for me ...) downhill and my sledge ended up overtaking me which was quite funny... We got back at around 5pm and had pasties for dinner. Bucko and Rose were on scheds talking to us about our day. We went over to others for the evening. At

Swinging the axes.

12am we were still over there. Nightwatch has to sit and listen to the radio at 12am, 3am and 6am every night when people are out on
winter trips in case there is an emergency and they are trying to get into contact (we also take Sat phones on the trips, which we would use first to contact anyone). It was quite common for people on wintertrips to contact Nightwatch at 12am just for fun (obviously not pretending that there is

Exausted but happy :)

something wrong, but just to say hi). We played Nightwatch a nice little song but did not really get an answer ;)