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Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team North Instead of South

Our last day on the ice turned out to be all about flying.  Flagging down an Ilyushin 76 is a big deal. This one set her wheels onto the ice runway around mid afternoon.  By then we’d taken tents down and checked our bags at the first class counter (a table in the snow with a roll of stickers, some clipboards and friendly ALE staff who were not checking our ID’s). Our Union Glacier hosts even gave us a deluxe final lunch in the dining tent.  Once the plane landed, there wasn’t any need for us to hurry.  It takes a while to unload such a big and powerful jet transport.  Eventually we caught a ride out to the ice runway in a comfy tricked out big wheeled van (with Utah plates) and then we were picking seats on the Ilyushin.  The plane took off a little after 5 PM and the Russian crew cranked up the heat.  4 hours later we’d crossed the Drake Passage and were floating in over the Straits of Magellan.  Punta Arenas lay waiting with flowers and Trees and grass in vibrant midsummer color.  The sun set as the bus brought us in from the airport (we hadn’t actually seen any sunsets while down on the ice). By 11 PM we’d checked into the hotel and showered and gotten together in the lobby for one last, pleasant, mandatory team function… The victory dinner!

Thanks for following the trip and for the friendly encouragement of the blog comments (which were relayed to us).

Best Regards and Happy New Year,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn


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