Date: 4 July 2012
Wind Speed: 10 Knots
Temp with wind chill: -83C
You would think in the middle of winter with consistently cold temperatures that we wouldn’t go outside unless it was necessary, but everyday we venture out to either perform work duties or for recreation. With the right equipment and safety precautions we can easily spend a few hours outside in -38°C. This week my fellow Scott Base residents and I decided to venture out to try ice climbing in the crevasse simulator that the Search and Rescue team uses for training.
Crevasse Simulator on the Ice Shelf © Simon
A crew of eight took a Hagglund on to the Ross Ice Shelf for about a 20 minute drive away from Scott Base. Several members of the Search and Rescue team accompanied us and set about rigging up the ropes and anchors. We were all rigged up and fitted with harnesses and then lowered down over the edge for some fun abseiling. Then the time came to climb back up! This was my first time climbing a wall of ice! Using two ice picks and crampons, I slowly eased my way up the wall, really getting a feel for the teeth of my feet and arms gripping in the ice.
Scott Base crew climbing the Ice wall © AHT/Susanne
While our trip was recreational, I could not help but think of the early explorers and how this experience could have been a part of survival for them. There are a few pairs of crampons in the historic bases and I now have a true appreciation for how they were used!
The previous crevasse training held at Scott Base became very helpful.