24 JANUARY 1963 TO 28 JANUARY 1963
David R. Carstens Surveyor
Rex Filson Lichens
John Williams Mechanic
This trip was organised to achieve an astrofix on a group of Nunataks 15 miles to the East North East of Mount Twintop.
It had been planned to do this work as the tractor train returned from the Amery Ice Shelf, but due to circumstances at the time, this had to be abandoned. This return trip gave Rex Filson the opportunity of collecting lichens.
We left Mawson about 2100 on 24 January 1963, travelling in No.1 Snow Trac, making use of the good weather at the time. However, we were forced to camp by high drift, two miles short of Twintop’s Fuel Depot. This was at 0500 25 January. Slept until 1300 and then moved on, still in drift but better visibility.
After the Twintop’s Depot, we travelled due east until we reached the Nunataks of our visit, sixteen miles distant. We visited the rock outcrops along the way where Rex collected lichens in each case. The surface was mainly rough sastrugi and crevassing had to be avoided on several occasions.
The astrofix was started on 26 January 1963 whilst Rex covered the group of Nunataks searching for lichens. It was drifting again and this made conditions difficult for star work and only four badly placed observations were obtained. Rex made a good collection of lichens.
The 27th was whiteout conditions until 1700. All walked over to the Nunatak area, took rounds of photos with the survey camera and erected a suitable cairn at the Photo Reference position.
When the cloud cover cleared at 1700 the star work was continued, a satisfactory fix being obtained by midnight.
On 28 January we broke camp and headed direct for Mawson. On the way we stopped at Van Hulssen Nunatak which was climbed. This was done on the Southern face which required rope work. Rex is an excellent climber. Altogether we spent 6 hours at Van Hulssen and Rex collected lichens.
We travelled along the west side of the Masson Range and arrived at Mawson at 1330. This route home was quite safe although some small crevassing exists and must be sought out.
The distance covered on this trip was 90 miles, the required work was achieved. No mechanical hold-up was had but we came in with two broken spring leaves. Good phone contact was had on the radio on three out of four days, the fourth day we forgot to keep the sked (scheduled call time).
D.R. Carstens, Surveyor.
[Note 2020 : Later this astrofix was officially recorded as Anniversary (NMA/S/69) at 68.056°S, 63.011°E.]