Vinson Massif: Team Lands with Ease on the Union Glacier

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Seth Waterfall | December 05, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif

Greetings from Antarctica.  Today went about ten times smoother and easier than any previous attempt at getting onto the “last” continent.  Our logistics company (ALE) gave a call at the civilized hour of 6:30 AM and advised us to put on our boots and check out of our rooms.  We ate breakfast, got on a bus, cruised to the airport, breezed through security and boarded our transport plane.  The Ilyushin 76 went “wheels up” at 9:30 AM and we were on our way.  Just ahead of the 2:15 PM landing we got busy putting on warm clothes and glacier glasses.  The Russian crew brought the big plane in for the smoothest landing on an ice runway that the world has ever known.  A few minutes later we were standing out on the Union Glacier in brilliant sunshine and a brisk breeze, marveling at the new world and at the amazing machine we’d just flown in.

We were chauffeured back to camp in deluxe 4 wheel drive vans with giant tires.  A series of informative and essential briefings and feedings were attended over the following few hours.  The ALE staff took excellent care of us and Seth Waterfall and I felt we were attending a great reunion as we met all of the friends we’ve come to expect to see in the odd corners of the globe.  Weather was perfect around camp as we set up our tents.  There was the faintest of breezes and a big bright sun.  The plan is for our team to get on a Twin Otter sometime tomorrow morning for a flight to Vinson.  The sun isn’t setting tonight but the team will get tired anyway at some point, despite all the excitement at this new place and quiet conversations going on in a dozen different languages around camp.  We do need rest.  Tomorrow is another huge day.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Ilyushin after landing on the Union Glacier. Photo: Peter Whittaker Team arrives on the Union Glacier. Photo: Jake Norton ALE's specialized transport for the ice. Photo: Jake Norton

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It’s wonderful to hear that things are going so smoothly!  Hopefuly this trend will continue. Oz’s Holiday Play was a huge success—he was excited and did an awesome job.  Your mom and I taped parts of it on our phones… Staying in Raleigh this weekend—he has choir commitments and I think we’ll do a Tacky Christmas light tour this weekend too!  Miss you!

Posted by: Stephanie on 12/7/2012 at 10:55 am

Christopher: Remember, Amundsen not Scott.  I’ll see you when you get back. julia.

Posted by: Julia Havlovic on 12/6/2012 at 7:19 pm

Go strong   team(and Mark)!!  THe Awesome Russian plane landing on the ice run way makes our little alaska glacier 4 seater planes look ridiculous!!

Posted by: kathy selland on 12/6/2012 at 6:45 pm



Posted by: Waltero Glover on 12/6/2012 at 1:11 pm

Great to hear that you are in Antarctica!  Best Wishes for safe and amazing journey to all of you.  So, so cool…can’t wait to hear more.  Hugs to you Mark!

Paula Selland

Posted by: Paula Selland on 12/6/2012 at 12:47 pm

Happy B-Day pop!! Good luck and safe travels to all-

Posted by: Bryce Foreman on 12/6/2012 at 12:27 pm

HW: So good to know that you’ve had a terrific start. The blog and pictures Dave posted are so awesome. Please keep them coming. We are all thinking of you. Please take good care! Love, -Fan

Posted by: Fan on 12/6/2012 at 12:20 pm

Hi to Julie from Carol with prayers for safety and success for you all.

Posted by: Carol Stuebs on 12/6/2012 at 11:59 am

Happy Birthday Sterling.

Be Safe

Posted by: Dave & Shirley on 12/6/2012 at 10:54 am

Glad to hear that the first real part of this adventure was as described.  Let’s hope that the remainder is seamless as well.  Everyone is asking about you (including the federal marshalls in Durham, and wanting pictures and details.  Thank goodness for this blog!Please know that many of us are watching and thinking about you and your teammates!
Love Stephanie

Posted by: Stephanie on 12/6/2012 at 10:35 am

Sterling - you are there on this special day!!! Thinking of you.  Much love, Sue

Posted by: Sue Foreman on 12/6/2012 at 10:17 am

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