Sunday, December 22, 2013

Aurora Basin Camp Update: First post traverse

It has been an eventful few days at the ABN camp. First our numbers dwindled to just three as we saw the French traverse off, and then, yesterday we received six of the team in from Casey.

The departure of our French colleagues was a mixed experience: bidding farewarell to colleagues we had come to know at close quarters in the two plus weeks since the traverse began, but also knowing we were moving on to the next phase in the project.

There was some reluctance on behalf of the traverse to leave just three of us in such a remote location, but by Thursday we were very well established and they have other commitments and fuel limitations which made a departure timely. We watched them complete their pre-start routine, warming the tractors as they lumbered around a groomed track to warm up before hitching up and trying to move. In the days on site, they vans had stuck pretty well, and it took some fancy work to get it all moving, unbogging a couple of stuck tractors on the way. They crawled off onto the horizon, becoming small specks after many tens of minutes.

The weather on departure day wasn't suitable for a flight, so we spent most of our efforts getting the camp ready for more people - putting bedding in tents, figuring out how to cram all the accumulated gear into sensible places so that newcomers could fit and getting food/kitchen similarly ready.

Yesterday we finished preparations, including erecting a pretty serious looking windsock for the skiway. Then we got two Basler