Antarctica Expedition Training on the West Coast of Sweden

Last week, the MAGIC-DML took the first of its many steps at Röe Gård on the beautiful West Coast of Sweden.

For the first time, the whole team assembled to plan the expedition to Antarctica and to undertake First Aid and fieldwork training. For some of us this was a journey within Sweden, whilst for others it involved travel from further afield. Special mention goes to Nat, who traveled all the way from the USA to join the team.

Meet the team….the MAGIC-DML team pose for a group photo during fieldwork training at Röe Gård in October 2016.

We spent a great week in fabulous sunny autumn weather at Röe Gård undertaking a variety of different tasks.

Top priory was field safety training, including getting everyone up to speed with the latest equipment that we will use to ensure that we can travel safely on the ice sheet. We practiced different methods of glacier travel and glacier safety. There is nothing quite like putting on the climbing harness and rope to remind you how important it is to have the right safety gear (and knowing how to use it!).

Just hanging around…..Ola practices rope techniques at Röe Gård

Don’t look down…..The MAGIC-DML team practice their rapel techniques for descending a fixed rope on the rock outcrops at Röe Gård

Also high on the agenda was First Aid, safety and medical training with our expedition Doctor. We hope we never have to use what we learned but we are now fully trained in Antarctic medical issues. After a week of learning about how to combat all manners of slips, trips, falls, bumps and burns we feel confident we can apply the correct bandage for the correct wounds, we can manufacture an emergency stretcher out of a rope and we can identify the signs of hypothermia.

It’s a wrap….Robin looking cosy in a hypothermic wrap made for him by the MAGIC-DML team

We also spent valuable time planning the fieldwork logistics and recording the detail of the sites we would like to visit. Time spent poring over satellite images, maps and photographs looking for priority sites for sampling is time well spent.

This week was also an opportunity to check over some of the field equipment we will be using. We couldn’t demonstrate everything to the team because some of our equipment has already been shipped to Antarctica (after rigorous testing of course!) but we were able to try out the new Getac Tough Pads that we will use for field mapping and recording sample sites whilst in Antarctica, as well as putting the Bad Elf GPS equipment through its paces.

Which way now?….Jenny learns how to use one of the Tough Pads to record the location of a striated bedrock outcrop at Röe Gård

We also tested all the communication equipment so that MAGIC-DML can hopefully stay in touch with the rest of the world whilst we are in the field.

The team also took the opportunity to test some of the food we will take with us – enjoying every spoonful of the delicious dehydrated meals that we will have for lunch whilst in the field.

Working lunch…three of the MAGIC-DML team take time out to enjoy a delicious dehydrated meal for lunch in the field

So, to sum, we spent a very useful and enjoyable week at Röe Gård and feel much better prepared for the trip to Antarctica: it was definitely worth the long journeys we made to meet up!

Neil Glasser, October 2016

#Training #LifeintheArctic

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