December 10 – Wally reporting from Patriot Hills

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

It’s the 10th of December about 2pm local time in Chile and believe it or not I am calling you from Patriot Hills. We have made it to Antarctica!

I couldn’t sleep a wink last night. As I told you, we weren’t really expecting to go today. But we took Gus out for a birthday dinner. I got back to the hostel and just had a feeling something was going on down here.

Ilyushin jet sits on the blue-ice runwayAnd sure enough, Rachel called me at about 6:10 am this morning and said that the weather had improved. And Mike Sharp and his crew had been working through the night to clear the runway.

We were quickly collected around Punta Arenas at our various hotels and by about 8:15 this morning we were loaded on to that big, impressive Ilyushin jet. I’ll try to send some photos back with Mark Rawsthorne so you can see how that thing looked to us when we went out there today.

And we flew the four and a half hour flight to Antarctica. Mark and myself, Mark who does support work for us here, spent a great deal of time in the nose of the aircraft, which you’ll see is a lot of grass as we flew over the first ice, the first huge glaciers and eventually landfall on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Will and Gus were just as mellow and calm as ever. And just a few moments ago, I watched them both step off on to the ice. Will was warmly greeted by some of the staff who remembers him from some of his exploits down here last year. Gus and I have just been walking around the last few minutes taking in the stillness and the expansive here

Summer camping at Patriot HillsYou won’t believe how clear and calm and warm the weather is. I’ve never stepped off an aircraft down here and experienced anything like this. It’s absolutely still, warm temperatures and no wind

I think we’ll make it out to Vinson base in the Twin Otters. I’m walking over towards the Twin Otters right now approaching Patriot Hills. I think there’s a chance we’ll be all the way out at Vinson Base sometime in the next hour.

But we’re going to relax and enjoy being at Patriot Hills now, have a meal in Fran’s kitchen and to everybody back home – our family, friends and supporters – thanks for hanging in there with us. We’re here ready to climb Vinson now.

This BAI expedition
is sponsored by:

AlpineAire Foods

Panasonic Toughbooks