Friday 1 December 2017

The End of Winter.

Our camp at Myth. Unfortunately due to a combination of factors, I didn't get any routes done in this area. 

Firstly a wee apology for this post being a bit out of date. I had some technical problems which prevented me from updating my blog for a while. However, despite the delay I still felt it was worth writing about the end of the winter here at Rothera. 

After my winter trip with Zoe, discussed in a previous post, I had four more winter trips.  On the first two of these I managed to get through McCallum's Pass and over to the West side of Adelaide Island. The mountains there tend to be larger and more spectacular than on the Rothera side of the island. Unfortunately due to a combination of factors I was only able to look at these mountain, and was not able to climb them. Something to come back for perhaps?
Digging out windows of the accommodation building during Sepember. The snow is just about up to the roof,  and this is the less snowy side of the building.
During September the weather turned very stormy for a few weeks. Due to the weather didn't manage to get very far at all on my next winter trip. In fact most of it was spent digging out windows and doorways around base as the snow drifts reached roof level on a number of the buildings.

Towards the end of September the weather started to calm down. My final winter trip was a field guide trip with Bradders and Steve. With lots of daylight hours and two fit and keen companions I had I high hopes of getting some good climbing and skiing done. Unfortunately, the night before we were meant to head out the weather did something I had not seen before, it dumped about two feet of soft snow with very little wind. From a skiing point of view this might have been good. Unfortunately it was not very good for travelling. We tried really hard, but the skidoos kept getting bogged down in the deep soft snow, and after a number of frustrating attempts we failed to get more than a few miles fro base. Due to the snow and worsening weather through the week I only managed a couple of routes and a small amount of skiing all week. 
Steve driving through some deep snow. Unfortunalty the skidoos did not mamage very well in this snow, and we did not get very far.
However, when the weather and snow finally settled down in early october there was some good skiing to be had. 
After the field guides trip it was time to get the base into summer mode. This required some long hours, particularly from the mechanics who had to clear all the snow which had accumulated on the roads around base and the runway throughout the winter. After a few delays the planes finally arrived, slightly later than expected, on the 18th of October.
Watching the first plane coming in. Tom and Julie (seated) where on sea ice safety cover. Bradders (in red) and myself  just came out to watch.
The Dash 7, the first plane of the season, coming in to land. 
At the time I was slightly apprehensive of the regarding the arrival of new people, and the resultant change in the atmosphere. After all, there had been just 22 of us on base and we had not seen anybody else since the ship had left back in early April. Although there inevitably was a change when the planes arrived, this was not particular rapid or negative. Most of the people of the first few planes had spent a fair bit of time down here, and were people that I knew.  The first planes also brought a bag of fruit for each of the winterer's, which having not had any fresh fruit for about 6 months, tasted fantastic.

Although the arrival of the planes did mean that some of the freedoms of the winter were curtailed, it also meant the beginning of the field season began. For me this meant the opportunity to get into the field and see a bit of Antarctica, something which I will write about in my in my next post. 

The first fresh fruit for over 6 months, Amazing!


  1. Hi mate, I've been reading your blog - I might be inspired to start one too! Back from Sky Blu and now back at Rothera. I've sent you a facebook message but I don't know if you use it much.

  2. Wirklich schöne Bilder! Da bekomme ich auch direkt Lust mal wieder Ski zu fahren, zum Glück sind wir bald wieder in unserem liebsten Hotel Bregenzerwald und dann ist es endlich wieder so weit.