At Scott Base four days had been reserved to familiarize with Antarctic conditions and the required equipment. This was a very short time span considering the fact that it is of utmost importance to be well prepared when starting our TIDEx undertaking. Only this ensures success. The training program was really rather densely packed and left little time for absorbing the scenery. Particularly odd was the fact that here, in a cold world of ice and snow, we were permanently surrounded by two representatives of the fiery Earth, the volcanoes Mt. Erebus and Mt. Terror.
The first part of the training occurred mainly at the station and its close environs. First we learned how the snowmobiles, the skidoos work and how to move them around. They will be our means of transport on Darwin Glacier.
Next on the list was the generator. Without a stable supply of energy we would be lost on Darwin. Therefore everyone in our team has to know how to operate them and what to do when the weather really turns rough.
More exciting was the afternoon when we drove out to a training crevasse. Here we could practice our mountaineering skills and get used to our equipment. Everyone passed the test. I hope, however, that “real” crevasses on Darwin will not hamper our life and work on the glacier.
Equipped with what we had learned in 1-2 days, November 3rd brought us the first little hard test: An overnight camp on the ice. I will tell you about it next time, together with the final preparations before we leave for Darwin Glacier.