Great news! The weather at Union Glacier and Vinson basecamp cleared enough for both our flights today. This means that both teams are on schedule with the South Pole team back at Punta Arenas and the Vinson team on the mountain. Antarctica has very fickle weather and when things are running on schedule it's a good reason to be thankful - and we are!
The South Pole team had an uneventful flight back from Union Glacier to Punta Arenas. They are now back in civilization and enjoying the comforts of a real bed and a private bathroom, with plenty of hot water! The team on Vinson wishes them all well as they make their way to their respective homes.
The Vinson team were very happy to make the 45 minute flight to Vinson basecamp. They arrived at Vinson basecamp around 2:30, got their kit sorted, and were on their way by 4:00. By 9:15 PM they had reached low camp on foot (without skis) and with individual sleds in tow. Tomorrow they will ditch the sleds and put everything in backpacks.
When we spoke with them they were just wrapping up dinner and people were getting ready for bed. They get to sleep in tomorrow thanks to low camp's location, which, in the early morning, is in the shadow of a mountain. It is much more comfortable and warm to rise when the camp is out of the shadow, and that's the plan. They hope to ascend the fixed line tomorrow to high camp at which point they'll be in a position to make their summit bid. Everyone is doing well and looking forward to making the climb tomorrow.
Terry and Joel have left us a nice audio dispatch and Keith sent a few photo from the last couple of days. Enjoy, and make sure to check back again tomorrow for another update!
Our award ceremony last night at Union Glacier
Inside the Ilyushin
The team at Vinson basecamp. Love the sign!