December 21 Update – Team Back at Patriot Hills

The scene at Patriot Hills

This is Wally Berg at the BAI office in Alberta .  It is about 4:00 PM MST and about 8:00 PM local time at the Patriot Hills Base in Antarctica .  I just got a sat phone call from Dave Hahn and he informed me that our team, Dave, Peter and Bud, just landed at Patriot Hills in the Twin Otter from Vinson Base about 45 minutes ago.

View from Twin-Otter on flight to Patriot HillsSo now the guys are back in the relative comfort of a full equipped Antarctica Base.  They have a large cook tent with propane stoves!  The team has left the snow wall toilet that Bud described as having such a nice view at Vinson Base behind. The guys will be sharing the facilities at Patriot with the staff that spends the season there, the new group of Vinson climbers who just arrived from Chile yesterday and other Antarctica adventurers. 

Patriot Hills is a beautiful place, an extreme place, but life is easy there.  Washrooms are clean, enclosed and well maintained, snow machines ferry loads of gear from the airplanes to the campsites.  And of course the Communications Tent, where weather reports are relayed to Punta Arenas is running throughout the day.  At some point, very soon we hope, the big Ilyushin jet will be heard overhead and the team will have the thrill of watching it land on the Blue Ice Runway.

Inside the communications tent at Patriot HillsThat flight might well be our guy’s ticket home to Christmas in Georgia , New York and New Mexico . We know that everyone at home is proud of their success on the highest point in the Polar Regions on earth and is happy that they are safely off the mountain.  In the wild and pure expanse of Antarctica they are looking at a “White Christmas” scene that few people could ever imagine.  I hope they can savor their last hours and days in midst of this indescribable beauty.  We are all proud of them and calls expressing love for them and pride in their accomplishment are coming in from family members and friends from around the world.