The Vinson expedition in Antarctica starts from Punte Arenas in Chile and a 4.5 hour flight brings you to the camp side Patriot Hills, as this area is only accessible by air. Patriot Hills is nestled within the heartland of Antarctica. The camp is at 80º 19' south latitude and 81º 16' west longitude, 1000m above sea level and 1076km from the South Pole.
Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, driest continent on the planet. The weather, strong winds and brutal storms have been synonymous with Antarctica since its discovery and continue to be a major challenge for modern explorers. Most of the early diaries and tales of exploration of Antarctica are filled with stories of how the weather was man's biggest enemy on the continent. Nature's power is seldom seen as ferocious as it is in Antarctica, making this one of the most inhospitable places on earth.
In the winter, the lowest recorded temperatures (without wind chill!) have reached -89°C (-129°F). The continent averages 2.4 km in height (1.5 miles) above sea level, making it 1.5 km (almost a mile) higher than the global average land height! Each year the South Pole receives less than an inch of water... in the form of snow, of course! This amount of precipitation is similar to that of another desert, the Sahara! Katabatic winds, reaching 300 km per hour (185 miles/hour), blow out of the continental interior and make the Antarctic coastal regions rather breezy.