November 14 – 18, 2011
November 14 was the official start of our Mount Vinson, Antarctica expedition. We had our first briefing meeting at 7:3pm that evening. It was nice to meet the other team members and the guides that evening. We are a total of nine climbers and three guides. Dave Hahn, a very experienced RMI mountain guide is our lead guide. After short introduction we had dinner together. The next morning was time for an equipment check and at 10:00am we had a briefing with ANI, the logistic company that is responsible to bring climbers and other adventurers to Antarctica and back! During this two-hour briefing we learned a lot about the hostile environment there and especially how to prepare for the flight over there and how to behave once we are on the ice. This was a very interesting presentation. Unfortunately, Peter from ANI informed us at the end of the presentation that we will not be flying before November 19 because of bad weather and two much snow on the blue ice landing strip.
Waiting is part of every Antarctica expedition and it is definitely much warmer to wait in the area of Punta Arenas versus on the ice in Antarctica. The good news was also that we had three days for us so the team decided to visit the Torres del Paine National Park which is about six hours north by bus from Punta Arenas. We arrived in the late afternoon in the park and did some hikes the same day right in front of the famous Tres Torres. These are three beautiful rock mountain towers which you can see on the picture below. The net day, David, team member from Australia, and I took a long walk in the mountains and along some lakes. It was a beautiful day and both of us enjoyed the great scenery. In the evening we learned from Dave Hahn that we may be leaving for Antarctica in the morning of November 19. This was exciting news and after a few beers we packed again our bags and went to bed.
The next morning we left Torres del Paine around 10:00am and arrived in Punta Arenas at 3:00pm. After having checked into the hotel in Punta Arenas, it was now time for the final packing for the Antarctica flight. Most of us have two bags, a backpack and a duffel bag. The maximal weight allowed for these two bags was 30kg or 66 pounds. It was not an easy task to pack so light for such a cold and extreme hostile environment. Well, it had to be done at this point and I decided to leave many heavy things in the hotel.
On November 18, at 6:30pm Dave informed us that we may fly out to Antarctica the next morning. This means that the logistic company would pick up our bags in the morning and bring them to the airport. In terms of the team, we will be informed early in the morning. We were all excited that evening and really looked forward to the next day.
If we leave in the morning as planned, then this may be the last bloc entry until our return around December 5, since I am not planning to bring my laptop to Antarctica. For those who are interested to follow our progress on a day-to-day basis, please check the RMI blog
The part of the Antarctica which Chile is claiming – Our destination…
Traveling to Torres del Paine: Small bridge or big bus???
The famous Torres in Torres del Paine.
A beautiful waterfall with rain bow in the Park.
Torres del Paine: View of the mountains from the South.
The classic view of Torres del Paine.
Getting ready for a 7-hour hike in the heat.
Is this the right preparation for Antarctica???
Having fun at the top of a mountain in Torres del Paine…