December 3 – Berg Adventures Team Returns to Patriot Hills

At 8:10pm, 11:10pm GMT last night, a brightly colored Borek Air twin otter ski-plane appeared in the brilliantly clear sky above the Branscomb Glacier at Vinson Base.  It landed very smoothly, the plane door opened and the pilots Shawn and Paul appeared and Paul cracked a joke, “Do you have your boarding passes?”  Woodie, Martin and I of course did not have our boarding passes but we had all our gear loaded, eager for the flight back to Patriot Hills.                               

We have a new teammate, Kent McCullin who will be accompanying us all the way back to Punta Arenas, the first leg being of course getting over to Patriot Hills.  The flight was 50 minutes long and very successful and we landed in the bright, late night air of Patriot Hills, almost no wind which is unusual for Patriot.  Also Di the camp manager and Fran, my old friend from many seasons down here made us very welcome.  In fact when Martin entered the tent that he and Woodie would be sharing, it was very spacious and warm with large beds he said ‘I’ve arrived in heaven’.

Later we had a wonderful meal here and even though Martin and Woodie have been very complimentary and I think in a very sincere manner about my cooking during the entire trip, they ate more at one sitting at dinner last night then they had eaten from all the meals I cooked for them in the previous week out on Mount Vinson.

We have a lot of good friends here, including Mark Milner from New Zealand, I mentioned Di and Fran, all the Borek Air pilots, it’s a nice little community here and we are happy to have them camped with us now as well.

We are also particularly happy that in that clear air I described just before we flew out from Vinson Base, we got a radio message that the first team reached the summit for this season of Mount Vinson.  Also our companions from the Camp 1 days back during that bad weather had reached high camp for the first time, so we wish them luck as they continue.