Date: 2 January 2011
Temperature: 1 C
Wind Speed: 10 knots
In taking a contract like working for the Antarctic Heritage Trust in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica, I felt so lucky being chosen that I didn’t really think what it’d be like being away from home for 6 months. Feeling a bit homesick, this Christmas I jumped at the chance to take a mini holiday and join six others from Scott Base on an overnight to Black Island. Our goal was to climb 1000+m to the top of Mt. Aurora. In two Hagglunds, it was a slow 5 hours ride, bumping around over the melting ice shelf, and navigating our way around large melt pools. We arrived at Black Island in the evening, pitched camp, had a great meal of Christmas Eve leftovers and quickly went to bed. We awoke at 4am to get ready and started climbing just after 5.
Hagglund negotiating the melt pools © AHT / Cricket
The whole daylong was gorgeous and sunny with mild winds. This was a treat since the weather here can change so quickly. The climb up took just over 5 hours, and we climbed most of the way with crampons and pick axes towards a peak that remained elusive until the very end. Minna Bluffs was our view from behind with Mt. Discovery on our left – it was fantastic seeing a different part of Antarctica and our home on Ross Island from a new perspective. The windy summit forced a quick lunch and a few cameo photos, and then we quickly made our way down in just under 3 hours. A quick base clean up and slow return home in the Hagglunds got us back to Scott Base in the evening. For me, this trip was a recharge, and reminded me how lucky I am for being here.