Dog sledge journey to the Heimefrontfjella, 1964/65 by D.P. Wild and L.M. Juckes
19/10/64 to 4/4/65
Object: To continue the topographical and geological mapping of the Heimefrontfjella...
Personnel: Baker (general assistant), Juckes (geologist), Russell (radio operator) and Wild (surveyor)
The Beatles:- Barra, Snowy, Mild, Staffa, Suak, Whisky, Satan, Bitter, Barajo
The Hairybreeks:- Slod, Royal, Oscar, Tina, Bodach, Eigg, Muck, BooBoo, Rum
Extract from the sledge diary for December 1964
1/12/64 Beatles: Up early again. Latitude and longitude observation seemed satisfactory but Dai had a little trouble with the azimuth shots. Hairybreeks: Climbed Funf Ridge. It was a hairy climb on which we got separated and reached the top so shattered that we climbed straight down again. After a brew up to steady our nerves Russ looked for more radio spares while Lew and Bodach geologized along the base of Bonanza Ridge.
2/12/64 Beatles: Another early start. The longitude, latitude and azimuth observations were completed and Dai did a round of angles. Hairybreeks: Cool and breezy but we moved camp into the next cove. Lew did a quick recce of the nearby ridge and was impressed by the geology and the scenery. 5.6 miles.
5/12/64 Beatles: Dai made a pan-round sketch and took a round of angles. This took longer than had been expected so they did not break camp this evening as hoped. Hairybreeks: Spend most of the day washing ourselves and our clothes. Funny, I didn't know this was a white vest...
6/12/64 Beatles: Semi-whiteout but they moved to E3, losing the sledge wheel en route and having to go back a mile for it. After a hairy but scenic climb they reached the station and began taking angles. Hairybreeks: Sorting rocks in the morning and got away in the afternoon. Dai's crossing over the crevasses 5 miles from Bird Rock impressed us - some crevasses several hundred feet wide. 7.8 miles.
7/12/64 Beatles: Completed the angles. When they returned to the camp they found that the centre trace had parted and the dogs had been fighting. There was blood everywhere but no serious injuries. They let all the dogs loose to untangle the trace and Bitter ran away. When Dai walked after him, calling him, Bitter just ran further. Expecting him to follow, they broke camp and moved back to 'new EA', losing 1500 feet in less than 2 hours. There was still no sign of Bitter when they turned in. Hairybreeks: Beautiful day. We picked up a glove of Dai's and got involved with a few crevasses before camping after 21.1 miles.
8/12/64 Beatles: Still no sign of Bitter. Dai completed most of his observations before it turned cloudy. They watched the Hairybreeks drive into the central cove and camp. Hairybreeks: Pressed onto reach a suitable camp in the central cove. We could see Dai and Tony at the survey station and later we were highly amused to see the only cloud in the sky forming around them. There was time for some geology in the afternoon. During the night many avalanches were heard at the head of the cove but none were seen as it had clouded over completely. 11.7 miles.
9/12/64 Beatles: After completing the angles from station they travelled to the other camp where they dumped all their gear while they fetched more supplies from their depot at old EA. 29 miles. Hairybreeks: Began geology then to the tent to speak to Dai and Tony and to get a bigger hammer. Geology continued until it clouded over and became whiteout.
10/12/64 Beatles: Moved camp 3.9 miles to Station S and then took an empty sledge to set up a subtense base line. Shortly after they had begun observations it started to blow so they finished off hurriedly and retreated to the tent. Hairybreeks: A clear day, with gusts of wind. Russ prophesied a blow as the others left. Geology carried on until the blow got well up, as we were sheltered by the spur. Finding the tent out in the open was not so easy.
12/12/64 Beatles: Finished the observations, built a cairn and took what was left of the afternoon off. Hairybreeks: Russ climbed to the station with Dai and Tony while Lew did a geological circuit of the base. They then moved up the hill to their depot and spent the afternoon there geologizing and shouting at Dai and Tony. The voices carried easily over the mile or so.
14/12/64 Beatles: Cold and windy but the necessary observations were completed. Hairybreeks: Moved camp but soon stopped due to whiteout. We felt our way to the ridge and geologized all the way to the top. Sked (radio) with base: Got some late orders away and heard all the news from Base. 2.2 miles.
16/12/64 Beatles: Two subtense base lines were measured and azimuth sun shots were completed. Hairybreeks: Moved camp in breezy weather and began geology in the areas to the east of the Eastern Range. 3.8 miles.
17/12/64 Beatles: Moved onto old EA, arriving in whiteout and snowfall. The sledge turned over en route and Tony's piccolo box would not work for the sked. Hairybreeks: Polished off the aretes, had lunch and retuned to old EB, picking up some depoted rocks en route. Sked: Very little heard by anyone. 7.7 miles.
19/12/64 Beatles: Whiteout but Dai got a compass bearing in a lull and they moved up to Station K. The wind got up after camp was pitched. Hairybreeks: High wind, lie up.
20/12/64 Both parties: High wind, lie up.
21/12/64Beatles: High wind. Dai climbed to the station but it was too manky to do anything. Sked: No contact, flat battery. Hairybreeks: Blowing, lie up. Sked: got got through to base.
22/12/64 Both parties: High wind, lie up. Heard the BBC's programme to the Antarctic.
23/12/64 Both parties: High wind, lie up.
24/12/64 Beatles: Lie up. Got through in the evening sked and heard that the Hairybreeks intended leaving that night. They decided to do likewise and got away by 10.30 pm. Surfaces were soft and they encountered some crevasses. They camped after 4 hours. Hairybreeks: Dug out sledge in the morning in the hope of moving but visibility was low and we didn't know our course without landmarks. Told the others on the sked that we would move that night but the wind suddenly got up again.
25/12/64 Beatles: Foul weather again but they plodded on following a compass bearing until seeing rock. Several crevasses later they reached Bird Rock where they found a Christmas present in the form of Bitter. He looked in good health despite his 18 days absence.Hairybreeks: High wind, lie up. Lew's first white Christmas. Low on food and avtur but worse still, out of fags!
26/12/64 Beatles: Spent day sorting the dump and charging tellurometer batteries. Hairybreeks: Clear at last! Moved camp and travelled 21 miles in 8 hours despite bad softers. A sweltering day.
27/12/64 Both parties: Russ and Lew were up at 4.00 am and soon reached Bird Rock. Lew cooked Christmas dinner and the festivities carried on late into the next morning. 11.8 miles.
28/12/64 Both parties: Sorting goods and washing. Dai began replacing the runners on his sledge. Good sked with Base.
29/12/64 Beatles: Packing and rebuilding sledge. Hairybreeks: After packing all day Tony and Lew set off intending to travel nights. They travelled 8 miles in 5 hours.
30/12/64 Beatles: Got off at last, towing a spare sledge and heading for Pyramid Rock. Hairybreeks: Plodded on for 16.9 miles in softer, camping south of Station K.
31/12/64 Beatles: Moved on and reached Crescent Rock. Hairybreeks: Got up for sked but transmitter wouldn't work til the sked was over. Covered 6.5 miles in 3 hours before camping and returning. Today travel photos taken of drinking the New Year in while sledging.