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Title image - BAI takes you to: Mt. Vinson

Vinson Expedition Dispatch

December 12, 2010 – The Waiting Game Continues

On the 9th of December, after their successful summit of Mt Vinson, John and Kate and their team woke at high camp, tired but proud, and rested enough to begin the descent back towards base camp. Remember, our scheduled flight off the ice was for December 10th, from Union Glacier.

It took us a number of hours to get packed up at high camp since we lived there for one week. We then moved down the fixed lines, through Camp 1, and all the way down to Vinson Base Camp. We had radio contact with Fran at Vinson Base camp all the way and everyone was monitoring our progress as we descended.

We heard the weather might change for the worst so everyone wanted to get the Twin Otter, flown by Dusty and Russ, to pick us up and return us to Union Glacier before the thicker clouds came in. As it turned out, we walked into Vinson Base Camp at 8:45PM, just about 8 hours after we'd started down, and Fran told us that in only 15 minutes, Dusty and Russ were going to land the Twin Otter and we'd be on our way back to Union Glacier. We had just enough time to go inside the tent and have a wonderful stew that had been prepared by Fran, before we hastily reorganized our bags, threw them on the Twin Otter and returned to the comforts of Union Glacier.

Now here at Union Glacier, we're joined by an amazing collection of adventurers from all over the world who have returned from their trips across Antarctica. They're from Norway, the US, Canada, England, Scotland, Italy, Korea, China, Australia, Poland, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia. I probably left a couple of countries out. So the stories are ongoing with this most fascinating collection of people you can imagine having all in one place.

We have much-anticipated weather briefings here at 12:45PM every day. So far, in the three days and nights that we've been back, the weather has not permitted flying from Chile down to get us in the Ilyushin. Our weather forecast today definitely said that for the next 18 hours, there could be no flight, but perhaps Monday evening they can get the plane in the air to pick us up. If not, we'll just have to continue watching the weather and see how it goes.

In the meantime we have a great sense of accomplishment and are grateful to be around such an interesting group of people and to have the comforts of Union Glacier base camp. We're doing well here at 79 degrees south. We'll continue to report about our luck with getting our flights towards Chile and onward to home in the next coming days.

Audio of Wally's call Listen to Audio of Wally's Call