December 24 – Christmas Eve Vinson Expedition Dispatches!

Wally Berg at BAI Office, Friday Morning 7:20 AM MST ( 14:20 GMT ) – Long night waiting in Argentina for winds to subside in Antarctica

After refueling in Ushuaia , Argentina for the remainder of the flight across the Drake Passage , Southern Ocean and The Antarctica Peninsula the report of wind speeds at Patriot Hills was not what we wanted to see.  The Captain made the decision to wait in Ushuaia rather than risk flying all the way to Antarctica and having to do a “turn around”.  In other words flying until he was over Patriot Hills and then having to fly back without landing due to high winds.

At 09:20 this morning local time the Ilyushin finally took off.  Now it has been in the air about 1:40 minutes…

Winds have been inconsistent, all over the place in the past hours at Patriot Hills, they have been up and down so we are hoping when the aircraft is actually over Patriot Hills and the winds are checked just before landing that the crew will feel a safe landing is possible.  They do not have enough fuel on board to wait long to make a decision, so we will know within a few hours if our team will be on the way back home today.

An Optimistic Dave Hahn by Sat Phone from Patriot Hills at 9:45 AM MST :  

Ilyushin jet sits on the blue iceHey this is Dave Hahn calling in for the last dispatch of the Berg Adventures International trip to Vinson Massif , Antarctica .  It’s Christmas Eve and it looks like we are going to get lucky.  We are going to fly out of Antarctica and back to Punta Arenas this afternoon.

The Ilyushin, the big transport plane is inbound heading for Patriot Hills and should be here at 1:30 in the afternoon, that’s Chilean time, and we’ll be getting off the continent if all goes well.  We are keeping our fingers crossed, the wind has been blowing a bit the last couple of days, but we’ve been resting easy passing the time playing games and reading books and we are looking forward to getting off the continent.  It’s going to be a challenge but Bud, Peter and I are going to try and get back north as soon as we can and the boys will probably be coming home on Christmas.

All the best and see you on the next trip!

Ilyushin jet sits on the blue-ice runway

UPDATE from Wally Berg:  1:50 PM Chile time ( 16:50 GMT ):  We just got word that the Ilyushin is on deck at the Blue Ice Runway and as soon as they climbers can load up they will be on their way back to Punta Arenas !  Another great BAI Antarctic adventure is ending.  Great job guys, congratulations.

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