Friday, October 28, 2011

Field Training

This Place is ColdDuring the last 2 days I have been on an Antarctic Field Training Course. This is required by all people operating out of base. It is important to learn how cold it is and what gear needs to be worn and when. First, a class room session went over a few things then we packed the Haggland with all out gear and headed for the ice shelf. We sleep in big triangular tents called Scott... Polar Tents. The sleeping bags are essentially 1 sleeping bag inside another. That was all stowed along with the food for the night. We set up camp on the side of a hill called Castle Rock. It was quite windy, about -40deg C with wind-chill. So getting shelter was the key priority. Then we had tea but that is interesting. By the time I had finished eating my pizza, the end was frozen. A cup of water would have ice crystals in it after only a few minutes. The fuel gets quite viscous at low temperatures and lighting it isn’t easy. Before bed we went for a quick walk up the hill to look north to where we will be camping, 40km away. The camp overlooked Mt Erebus which is impressive, higher than Mt Cook with a small steam vent at the top. 11pm, the sun was still high and bright. Anything you don’t want to freeze must be in the sleeping bag (between the two), anything electronic, water bottles, clothes for the next day and boot liners. We have to pee in bottles to bring back. Although advised, I didn’t want to sleep with my pee so that was left to freeze beside my bed, in the tent, along with the drink bottle. Defrosting the pee was the first job to do once I got back to base. I got to drive the Haggland home. Hardcase machines, they float so if we break through the sea ice we should be ok. They have big ramps to cross cracks and winches to pull themselves out.
See Facebook for photos

No comments: