November 24, 2006 – Team Makes it to Patriot Hills, Antarctica

Listen to Audio of Wally's Call (.wav)

The Ilyushin jet flying into Patriot Hills

When you fly into Antarctica things can turn around pretty quickly, there’s a lot of waiting, sometimes it seems unending and you can’t imagine actually going but then very quickly things turn around.  At 6:00pm on the 23rd we got our call about the weather and learned that Jaco the meteorologist was observing much calmer winds, 10 knots gusting to 14 over a 2 hour period.  The crew decided to fly and we mobilized very quickly.  By 8:30pm we were at the airport, at 9:30pm local time in Chile we took off and at just about 2:30am local time in Chile or 5:00am Zulu GMT time this big Ilyushin jet with rubber tires set down on the blue ice runway.

Patriot Hills Base Station – Antarctica

Now Wayne, Larry and I are standing out in the brilliant wide expanse of Antarctica.  It’s breathtaking, it’s humbling and exciting to be here.  Also in many ways relaxing because we finally made it after months of dreaming, planning, and training.  It will be one day at a time now as we wait to fly on the twin otters out to Vinson Base and get ourselves ready to climb.  But it’s all worth it already because here we are in Antarctica, 600 nautical miles from the South Pole at the base of the Patriot Hills.  It is beautiful and it’s a great feeling for our team to be here now.