31 July, 2012 King Edward Point
July started with quite a lot of snow on the ground, the track often being closed due to avalanche risk. Winter training was undertaken by all base members, this included digging avalanche pits to check snow conditions for avalanche risk. A practice search was also undertaken in case of getting caught in an avalanche. This was followed by ice axe arrest training and how to cut steps in when travelling on snow covered slopes. This was important training ahead of people going out on winter trips.
Paula and James went over to Harpon for a night. Katie, Matt & James then went out on a winter trip to the summit of Black Peak. Our winter trips were to come in the following months.
Erny took advantage of the good snow conditions with a lot of skiing around base, as did most other base members. Erny was even spotted skiing on the fuel farm roof, this should give you an idea of the amount of snowfall we had.
We had a few good Saturday evenings, including a fantastic sushi night by Alastair. We also had a “Pizza and Poker” night in the bar, luckily for us it wasn’t real money. Lots of krill boats were in which meant us covering a lot of boat crewing which always makes a change from our usual work.
Speaking of work, one of the jobs we had to do early in the month was to fit the snow chains onto the JCB (again due to the heavy snowfall). This was a very awkward job which took us nearly all day.
On a more pleasurable work note, skiing to the hydro to do the weekly checks became the norm. Andy cross-country skiing on a pair of base skis, and Erny even managing to use his wooden skis that he received as a mid-winter gift from James the B.C.
The hydro system was installed a few years ago to provide the base with renewable electricity. Water in Gull Lake is released through the dam, down the hill to the hydro building which houses the turbine, generator and all the controls.
Generally it is a very good system that offers “free” electricity for base which is much cleaner than the old generator system. However, this winter has been cold and dry which has led to a bit of a shortage of useable water in Gull Lake,