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Adare-p7

The seven journeys made in the Robertson Bay area were to be the training ground for the Northern Party.  Here they learnt about sledging and living in the field.  Knowledge, that at the time, they did not realize was to be essential in surviving the winter and spring of 1912. 

  •  First how to survive blizzards: select sheltered campsites; pitch camp in strong winds; ensure tents were securely anchored using snow around the skirt.  Snow and ice techniques: how to travel over sea ice; recognize rotten or thin sea ice; traverse pressure ice with fully laden sledges; handle deep snow conditions where there was underlying pressure. 
  • They became aware of moisture and ice problems with their sleeping bags and tents.  Having experiencing temperatures as low as minus 42.8oF they knew how cold some nights could be. 
  • With their sledges, they learnt what surface made the iron runner sledge superior to the conventional wooded runners. 
  • They modified the sledges, preventing the loss of small items dropping through the sledge decking and  refined their order, packing items onto the sledge so in emergencies the necessary items were at hand. 
  • They found a better pulling arrangement for handling the sledge in rough pressure.  Here they attached the two harnesses to the rear of the sledge thus allowing two of the four-man team to be beside the sledge.  This not only improved the steering through pressure ice it also allowed the two rear pullers to keep the sledge upright. 
  • It was here they first used the two decking system.  When on a good surface one sledge was placed on another, and both teams pulled the combination.
  • Also, here in Robertson Bay they learnt when on bad surface conditions there was nothing else to do but relay.  With two sledges both parties would pull one sledge then stop, walk back for the second, and pull it up to the first.  However, with one sledge this meant the unloading part of the load pulling the remainder some distance, then unloading and dragging the empty sledge back to pick jettisoned load.  In both techniques, they walked or pulled the sledge three times the distance they actually moved forward.


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