As part of living down here, we need to complete Antarctic field training.
Eight of us new folks and one field trainer (an expert who has been here before) went out on Friday and camped the night returning on Saturday morning. We collected our equipment; tents, sleeping bags, primus stoves etc and loaded it all onto a sled that we towed behind one of our Hagglunds. We drove out onto the ice shelf for around half an hour and setup our campsite. The tents we use are a similar design to the original Scott polar tents, a tall square pyramid with large flaps around the sides that you shovel snow onto to hold it down and seal it to the ground.
Once we had setup our tents we dug a “kitchen” into the ground and used the blocks we removed from the excavated seat to build a wall around the back on the windward side. It was time for a cup of milo to warm up a bit so we boiled some pots of water and also filled our drink bottles to keep them from freezing.
We went for a walk up a hill called Castle Rock and returned in time for dinner, some of those tasty Back Country dehydrated pouches a spaghetti bolognaise one for me and some chocolate for desert.
It was important to keep all your spare gloves down the inside of your jacket to keep them from freezing and to control your layers of clothing, I found I was wearing surprisingly little when sheltered from the wind, our outside temperature was only around -18C while we were camping but we had some moderate winds. The tents/sleeping bags were really warm and I kept all my spare clothes inside my sleeping bag to keep them warm for the morning. We had some oats for breakfast and packed up our camp.
The training was good fun, and the best part is it cannot rain when you are camping in Antarctica.