Friday, 19 December 2014

Work/Jolly - Jork/Wolly?

So I have an inclining that this blog will be primarily about being out in the field as I feel that's all I have been doing lately. If I'm not out there for work, it is for recreation. I don't know if it is because I am at a completely different station but I have the 'Jolly crown' firmly affixed to my head at the moment...

Another part of Mawson's uniqueness is its accessibility to the plateau and the numerous mountain ranges that are piercing through the boundless Antarctic ice cap. Nestled among these giant peaks are three totally contrasting field huts.

Closest to station and with arguably one of the greatest views is Hendo Hut which is flanked by Mt Henderson and Onley Hill. The hut itself is situated 700m above sea level, majority of the way up the 900m high Mt Henderson.

Henderson Hut

The hut looks out over Mawson station itself and Holme bay. It's a view you would never tire of.

The view from the Hendo dining table

Next on the list is the interestingly named and situated Rumdoodle Hut. The hut is in the lee of the North Masson Range of mountains. It is literally sitting at the base of the ranges with Rumdoodle peak towering 400m above it (875m above sea level).

Rumdoodle (it's the little green thing right in the middle)

Located all around the hut are giant boulders that have dislodged from the cliffs and have slowly started to melt their way into the ice.

Looking from Rummy to the David Range

The final destination for this tour is Fang Hut, which surprisingly, is huddled alongside the 1032m Fang Peak in the David Mountain Range. This hut is different as it faces out to the wild endlessness of the plateau which makes it the hut of choice if you want to experience some of that famous Framnes Mountain weather!


This sign speaks the truth

This next shot is from the saddle at Fang, to the right of shot in the distance is the North Masson Range with Rumdoodle hut, just to the right of centre is Mt Henderson and Henderson hut and to the left behind Mt Parsons is Mawson Station!

That gets the jollying out of the way, now for the work side of things...

Rumdoodle is also home to our summer skiway which needs outfitting with equipment and commissioning. This year we decided to capitalize on having another leftover from the 'golden days', one of Kathy's old friends, the Foremost Pioneer!

So much leather. And Gnomes.

The convoy at the top of Gwamm

Our destination, the North Massons

This Canadian built monster is powered by a Caterpillar 3306 (the same turbocharged engine that we use to supply power for the stations) and is fitted with a large HIAB crane. It is perfectly suited to a task such as the Rumdoodle skiway, with the help of this Antarctic colossus and 2x supporting Hägglunds we managed to get two sleds full of ATK aircraft fuel, one windsock/flag sled, one fuel pump sled, one emergency response sled and two Honda quads up to Rumdoodle to prepare the skiway. Again its a shame but this could be one of the last times this old girl is used 'in anger' in Antarctica as it is earmarked to continue keeping Kathy company and return to Australia this season.

We did do some work!

Luke admiring the Snow Petrels on the cliff face

The skiway team!

That about sums up that. Ill try to write about some station life next time if I actually get the chance to spend some time on station in the near future...

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