December 15 – Happy at Vinson Base Camp

Hello this is Dave Hahn calling from Antarctica , specifically Vinson Base Camp at 7,000ft (2133m) on the Branscomb Glacier.  Dave HahnWe flew all the way from Punta Arenas to Vinson Base Camp today on our big flight on the Ilyushin.  We were off deck in Punta Arenas this morning at 10:00am , we got the green light and we landed close to 2:30 pm in Patriot Hills after a smooth and easy flight and a wonderful landing.

We got out and things were not all that bad at Patriot Hills, a little windy down at the strip but very pleasant up at the camp.  The word was then that things were not too good out at Vinson, that it was a little cloudy and we might not get to go out, but sure enough we were patient and within 2 hours the weather improved and they started flying the twin otters out to Vinson Base Camp.

We ended up at Base Camp on the third flight out, there were two twin otters flying back and forth to get us and several other groups in.  I’m here now with Bud and Peter and we have our camp set up here at Base Camp.  It’s a pleasant evening, it’s calm but it’s a little murky.  We could see the summit as we came in and we can still see the summit now but there are a lot of ice crystals in the air.  But it is just magical to be here after five days in Punta Arenas and all the transit to get down here, to finally be standing on our own two feet in Antarctica on the mountain that we want to be on is just perfect.

Everything is going very well and we are looking forward to tomorrow and we’ll keep you up to date with how things go tomorrow. Thanks and bye from Antarctica .

Update: First Carry Accomplished.

Bud just called in to report that the team is back at Vinson Base, tired but feeling good because they did their first carry today.  Bud described that much of the since the team has arrived at Vinson Base has been sunny and beautiful, but that it is cold – the high temperature for the day was 1 degree F (17 C). 

Our tents at Vinson BaseBud also noted that the ice block wall toilet that they use at Vinson Base has the most beautiful view of any toilet he has ever seen.  He says the view from there across the ice cap and the pure and vast expanse of Antarctica is awesome!

Dave reported that the carry the team did today was successful.  They went up to the big turn in the Branscomb Glacier some distance above Base Camp.  They cached their loads and returned to Base Camp from this point.  Dave noted that a cloud cap had formed over Vinson today, and they climbed in a light snow, so we know that now the guys will be watching the weather closely now.

We also know the team, will sleep soundly “tonight” (remember that even though they are going to bed now it is still completely light at 81 degrees south in Antarctica, only one week from the longest day of the year!)  They worked hard with the carry today and they are secure and peaceful in their little home in tents at Vinson Base.