Halley Diary — October 2007

31 October, 2007 Halley

October started for us with some spectacular weather, not so much calm bright and sunny but very windy, the good thing is when it’s windy the temperature tends to be warmer not much help for us this is a busy time of year at Halley, basically the start of raising everything buried from the snow drift after the harsh winter. Everyone here has to get their shovels and dig out items such as drum lines, flag lines, buried cables, vehicles, sledges & cabooses just some of the things that bury during the winter.

As you may be aware it was the Oktoberfest held each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany absolutely impossible for us to attend so we decorated the bar area modelled after the Munich event and joined in the festivities.

During the past couple of months I have been helping with one of the science projects installed and ran buy Neil and Julius unfortunately Julius broke his leg and was unable to visit the site at Precious bay so I stepped in and took his place for a while

My job was to navigate to the site and change over the battery sets, which are charged via wind turbines and solar panels but as always there is plenty of digging out snow before we can begin to do anything.

During October four of us went on our winter trip, we were called sledge Juliet and consisted of Suna, Neil, Andy and of course me Mark. We decided to start our trip at Windy Bay and watch the Emperor Penguin Colony on the sea ice.

After a couple of days watching the Penguins we did some ice climbing, for me this was the first time experience I really can’t think of anywhere else in the world that would top this place for ice climbing the view was amazing and the weather was perfect bright and sunny but still about –30C, the penguins had got so used to us by this point, some of them decided to followed us and stood there watching for most of the day whilst we played on the ice cliff’s.

The first ice cliff we climbed was nicely angled with some soft snow enabling us to kick our crampons into the ice getting a good secure footing, and then we started swinging and lunging the ice axes into the ice cliff making the climb fairly easy.

One of the dangers climbing here is the tide crack you can’t always see them but they are there just waiting for me to walk across them.

I became known as the probe, if there was a tide crack or crevasse I was the one to find them simply by falling down them, its not that I’m accident prone it is however because I am at least 3 stone heavier then the other three giving me a heavier footprint.

We then climbed a vertical ice cliff, this was much harder to climb there was no soft snow to kick our crampons into just solid ice, apparently you only need to get the tip of the ice axe into the ice to get a secure holding, I wasn’t taking any chances I lunged the axe as hard as I could, digging it in at least 2 or 3 inches with one blow.

After our time at Windy Bay we packed up our kit to head off for the Rumples unfortunately the weather wasn’t looking to good so we headed back to Halley for the night. The next morning the sun was shining so we jumped on our skidoos and continued our journey to the Rumples.

It didn’t take long to get there we then set up camp and got a brew on.

We then decided to go for a stroll into the rumples, walking through this place is the most nerve racking experience but the most exciting walk I have ever had, I did this trip last year too so I had a little knowledge of the area it is full of crevasses some of them are very old and go all the way down to the sea. Once again the probe was at it again I managed to fall down three crevasses, only down to my knee but one time up to my chest, Andy pulled me out like pulling a cork out of a bottle (Pop).

The next day we roped up headed back into the Rumples, this time to purposely find and go down a crevasse, it really doesn’t take long to find them, within 30 minutes or so we was setting up snow stakes, we managed to find a crevasse nice and wide and all the way to the sea it really was amazing.

After a great trip and a short break it was time to return to Halley

The last part of my diary for October revolves around our Halloween party, as normal its time to dress up and look completely ridiculous; Kirsty & Tamsin supplied a bucket full of sweets and decorated the bar with spiders, cobwebs and pumpkins

Here are some pictures of the costumes

And last but not least of all a picture of our band at Halley called Z Or Dead known as the loudest band on the brunt ice shelf, from left to right Dave the Skeleton (rhythm guitar, keyboard & vocals), Dean the Wizard (percussions), Me: – Mark the Zombie (Lead guitar and vocals), Alex the Wicker Man (Bass guitar), we practice every Friday night and have became with out doubt the best band on the brunt ice shelf mainly because there aren’t any others, our repertoire consists of everything from Pink Floyd to Whitesnake we are the power ballad kings.

Well that’s my Diary for October it’s been a fantastic month thanks for reading it


Mark Wales
Halley Electrician

October 2007