The Haupt Nunataks are a group of rocky hilltops protruding through the icy landscape approximately 30km south of Casey, next to the Vanderford glacier. An automatic weather station (AWS) is located on top of the largest nunatak and reports weather data via polar–orbiting satellites.
An overnight traverse to the Haupt Nunataks AWS was scheduled for early August ahead of an annual traverse to the Law Dome AWS. The team departed Casey in mild snowy conditions which became blowing snow as we travelled into the afternoon darkness across the plateau. Unfortunately the engine in our Hägg took a dislike to the icy weather which compelled us to stop overnight a little earlier than intended.
Another team arrived early next morning with a replacement Hägg and we were soon on our way, arriving at the Haupt Nunataks before the mid-morning sunrise.
A replacement battery pack was installed and some maintenance carried out on the AWS equipment and we departed for Casey in fine weather just after midday.
Unfortunately the limited daylight during early August does not provide adequate solar recharging of the batteries and the AWS data transmissions from Haupt Nunataks are very intermittent.
Mark Grainger — BoM Tech and OIC