28 May, 2003 Rothera
The winter training trips in May started with bad weather, poor contrast and blizzards once again, with two trips bogged down together just south of Trident. A heavy snowfall almost stopped them getting back to Rothera at the end of the week too as the skidoos struggled to drag the sledges home through deep powder.
The second wave of trips looked as though they had managed a more promising start as they left Rothera but deep snow and deteriorating conditions hung things in the balance. Sledge November finally cut their losses rounding Trident and returned to the favoured campsite further south while Oscar slipped through the Shambles and pressed on through the Lincoln Triangle to break out into better weather and snow conditions on Adelaide’s west side.
The next day shimmered with hard frost and the blue gold glow of an empty sky. Ed and John topped out on Stokes Peaks making the most of it by using skidoos, skis, snowshoes and crampons on the way. Meanwhile, Hef and Rich B were up at first, light and reached the summit of the Myth just after 11 so after lunch, back at the tent headed south for an afternoon exploring Carvajal. Unfortunately, after only one good day, the weather closed in with a vengeance once more, and so only Orca was climbed on the way home.
After a couple of wild days with everyone glad to be back at base, Sledges Papa and Quebec headed out into the wilderness. Once more conditions clamped down and both sledge parties opted to use the camp at Trident to explore the more local area. Breaks in the weather allowed both parties to explore through the Shambles and Jon and Issy also circumnavigated Trident.
Baz and Dave finally headed out as a triumphant final sledge party into an oasis of calm weather and clear skies. After stopping off to help Sledge Papa with a skidoo problem, they squeezed through the Shambles with some weather at their heals, and pushed north to establish camp under Snake Ridge. They then went on to successfully round off the Pre-Midwinter Training Trips by reaching Reeves-Bouvier Col, exploring the lower sections of Snake Ridge and skidooing up to the top of The Wall to admire the view back down on the Shambles.
Richard Burt – Field Assistant