In the middle of a Christchurch industrial estate, eight climbers are gearing up to scale an Antarctic crevasse.
As part of the summer traverse team for 2021, in two weeks time they will be flying to the Ross Sea to complete a 1100km traverse over the largest ice shelf on earth.
It is a last minute cramming session at the Heads Up rope centre before heading into 14 days quarantine.
Today they practice crevasse rescue scenarios and rope systems to replicate the dangers of crossing from Scott Base to the Siple Coast.
A convoy of three PistenBully snow tractors, towing 60 tons of equipment, the traverse sets off every November to resupply and set up stations on the ice shelf. This is Mad Max on ice.
"Even compared to what alpine climbers do in NZ, this will be quite different," says Tom Harris, field safety a technical support for the traverse.
"We'll be carrying a lot more gear than any alpine party."
Five will accompany the traverse, with three flying ahead to swap for the return journey. The drive itself will take a fortnight to complete at the glacial speed of 15km per hour, tops.
"You've got to enjoy the difficulty" says Rob Teasdale, who has signed up for his fourth traverse. "It's two weeks in either direction."
"You can carry so much more equipment which is just not practical to fly," he says. "It's not reliant on perfect conditions."
Part of their mission is also leaving refuelling stations for small planes like the DHC-6.
It's an annual resupply mission that takes place once a year, and takes just as long to plan. Not only for infrastructure it is the method by which Antarctica New Zealand's scientific programmes move kit into one of the most remote parts of the world ready for the season.
Researchers will then fly to the Siple Coast for a two-month window, drilling into the ice shelf to help gather data for climate change predictions.
"We're doing the easy bit really," says Rob.
During this time they will be living out of a "big green box", in which there are facilities to eat, sleep and wash.
Troy Beaumont, Director of the Heads Up Access training centre, is no stranger to Antarctica. He was winter base manager at Scott Base in 2011.
The first time working with Heads Up Access for Antarctica New Zealand, there may be more need for height access work in Antarctica soon around the Ross Island redevelopment. Like other Antarctic veterans Troy was involved in the review process for the new Scott Base designs.
"It's amazing what they are doing. They put out the plans for old Antarcticans for review."
With concerns as far reaching as extreme polar conditions and contamination from corrosive penguin poo, the review has had to be extremely thorough.
"It's got to last for the next 50 years, so you've got to get it right."