Friday, January 15, 2010

'Happy camper school'

Well I am now back at Scott Base having survived the AFT (Antarctic Field Training) programme (also known as 'Survival School' or fondly referred to as 'Happy Camper School' by the Americans). I have kept a bit of a picture diary of our time out at camp ...
Packing the last bits and pieces in my green bag before heading out to camp

Setting up camp

Emerging from the yellow glow of the polar tent after laying out the ground sheet

Me (in the centre) leaning on my shovel after sculpting our dining suite and the bench for our tea tray

Jana playing camp mum in our ice kitchen

The remains of the 'A' frame hut near our AFT camp

Trying to learn how to cross-country ski

Jana in her very impressive ice coffin

Jo and I in our snow cave sleeping quarters

My shiner beginning to .. well, shine!

Despite the stories that have begun to swirl around base, the instructors didn't beat me, and Jana was not enforcing her 'camp mum' authority. Unfortunately the shovel and I had a bit of a disagreement while I was trying to improve the snow cave that the army boys had constructed. Anyway, the long and the short of it was a narrow tunnel, a full sized/length shovel, and an over enthusiastic new-be trying to improve the cave entrance: result = semi-permanent eye make-up, and a reputation for being clumsy. The price you pay for comfort!

The Hagglund - our transport from Scott Base to camp

The second day of survival school was about preparing us for unexpected situations like getting caught out in bad weather and needing to construct emergency shelters and learning how to 'self arrest' using an ice axe when sliding down an icy or snow covered slope. It was great fun!!

Emergency shelter = hole in the ground with a deeper hole in the centre (for feet) and snow piled up on the wind-ward side of the shelter

Once the 'victims of bad weather' are down and out of the wind, a bothy (wind-proof cover) is used to further protect the group

Jo provides a demonstration of the self arrest technique:


Quick roll over. As you do this, the ice axe in positioned across your body with the head near your shoulder and the adze tucked in near your collar bone. You roll to the side that the head of the ice pick is on (this prevents the spike (bottom of the shaft) from getting caught in the snow before the pick)

A successful self-arrest

My bed (top bunk) where I have unfortunately spent most of this afternoon! All the excitement of Happer Campers School was too much for me .. Hopefully I'll feel better in the morning!


Anonymous said...

Wow, gutted about your eye!! Lucky you would have had ice close at hand :) Photos look so cool!!

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