Monday, December 9, 2013

Traverse Day 14 Update

Day 14 Progress:

Day 14 - 8 December 2013, 1330UT
Position reached: E 113° 44.405' S 71° 12.614'
Elevation: 2652 m
Distance covered so far: 1269 km
Distance remaining: 85 km
Temperature (evening): -24 °C

We are hopefully at our last night on traverse, with only a modest day's
travel remaining. Progress was once again good - we have had
fairly consistent conditions since turning off at D85.

After a relaxed meal, we sat down and watched a short old film that Noel
had, of a 1960s traverse from Wilkes to Vostok, 900 miles inland. Wilkes is
now abandoned, but is an old US station that passed to Australia before
being closed once Casey was established across the bay.

It was remarkable what 4 men in a caravan of small sleds hauled by two D4
tractors achieved. We were struck by how our modern mode of transport is
essentially the same, yet different in speed, comfort and safety. The film
was particularly apt, because the ABN site we have selected is on the old
Vostok traverse route. So while we are assuredly the first people to pass
over much of the ice we have traversed in the past week or so, we are very
much pre-dated as visitors to GC40 (the formal location of the ABN site).

Tomorrow, all going well, we reach the site. We will park the traverse
caravan a kilometre or so short, and if time allows do an initial survey to
establish wind direction, drill site, basic camp and skiway layout. Once
these things are determined, we will be set the following day to bring in
the traverse and start the work of setup.