Vinson Massif Expedition: On ice, which is nice

Posted by: Dave Hahn | November 29, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 2,297'

Good things come to those who wait.  At 20 minutes to midnight yesterday, with the Southern Cross shining down on Punta Arenas, we left the continent.  We were shoehorned into the cavernous cargo compartment of the Ilyushin 76 airplane, along with about fifty other passengers, a pickup truck and a mountain of gear and supplies.  The flight took about four and a half hours and was almost completely lacking in any noticeable turbulence.  We passed time by reading, listening to music and simply snoozing. 
With about thirty minutes to go, everybody began layering up, tying boots, and pulling on hats and face masks.  With perhaps 15 minutes to go, the flight crew turned on a new feature, a big screen TV with the outside view from the nose of the plane.  It was absolutely spectacular, like a clip from “Frozen Planet” or “Planet Earth”.  Surreal beauty, until we felt the wheels under our seats touching the ice surface in the picture.  Then it became real as the engines roared to slow the plane. 
After the perfect landing, we marched out into the middle of Antarctica.  After some photo-ops and handshakes, we shuffled over to a warming hut and then into a modified van for a ride across the glacier on giant tires.
It wasn’t to be as far as getting straight out to Vinson Basecamp.  Weather there wasn’t suitable for a Twin-Otter flight, so after an early morning welcome meal, we built our tents and crashed for a few hours.  The weather slowly deteriorated during the day, with cloud building up and light snow falling.  That didn’t stop us from spending a few hours out in late afternoon to review rope techniques.  We rounded out the first day with an excellent dinner and an evening spent chatting with various adventurers on exotic missions on ice. 
Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Now at Union Glacier, Antarctica.  Photo: Jake Norton

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Glad you are finally able to get down to some serious business.  Cheers.

Posted by: Mary on 11/30/2013 at 9:22 am

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