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Immediate report of Victoria University of Wellington Antarctic Expedition 1988-89: VUWAE 33



Travel on the Darwin Glacier was generally good, although crevasses occur on a roll which runs across the glacier about 4 km east of Richardson Hill. Extensive areas of heavily crevassed hummocky blue ice occur off the northern ends of Haskell and Coloseum Ridges and travel through these areas is difficult. The crevasse field off Colosseum Ridge extends northwards for about 4 km.

A route on to the edge of the plateau exists close in to the western side of Haskell Ridge, further west however sastrugi and crevasse fields are encountered.

Entry into the Hatherton Glacier is easy only where the ice fall is divided into a number of platforms, this point is clearly shown on the 1:250,000 map and once found only a few crevasses need be crossed. Travel up this route is not recommended if towing sledges.

The Hatherton Glacier provides easy down hill travel, it is mostly blue ice and generally free from crevasses except for the first 5 km below the ice fall, which is partly snow covered and lightly crevassed. Care must be taken not to get on the wrong side of the medial moraines because crossing them is all but impossible in many places. Several steep rolls occur close to Mt Ash, travel down these is hazardous and travel up would be very difficult.

Extensive crevasses occur north and northwest of Junction Spur and smaller crevasses persist for about 9 km down glacier. The best crossing point between the Hatherton and Touchdown Glaciers is at 158°00′ East because the area to the east is also crevassed.

Travel between Roadend and Mulgrew Nunataks is good with easy gradients, a crevasse field extends off the south-western tip of Mulgrew Nunatak but can be avoided by passing as close to the Nunatak as possible (avoiding the wind scoop).

Access to the Tentacle Ridge-Mt Hughes area is best gained from the valley north-eastward of Tentacle Ridge. Travel into the embayment is on blue ice, there are few crevasses but the route is moderately steep. Access to the south-western side of Tentacle Ridge appears difficult and camp sites are exposed to strong catabatic winds.

Note: Aerial recognisance of The Nozzle suggests that it is impassable, an alternative route exists north of Bowling Green Plateau.

Although no sledging was conducted in the Convoy Range, the Fry Glacier area has only limited crevassing and blue ice and could easily be sledged. Sledging routes are summarised in figure 3.

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Figure 3 Sledging routes and campsites used in the Darwin Mountains.

Figure 3 Sledging routes and campsites used in the Darwin Mountains.