Today the team left the South Pole via Twin Otter plane for the Union Glacier basecamp. Along the way they flew over the beautiful polar plateau that they know so well, and past stunning mountains. When they landed they had a celebration with the official PolarExplorers South Pole cocktail "Aurora Australis" (that's one part chmpagne, one part vodka, one small handfull of snow, and a swish with your finger). It's surprisingly good!
Lieve, Koen and Rick are now all back in Punta Arenas after a flight on Saturday from Union Glacier. Spending the first couple of nights in a bed (ahhhh!!!) no doubt feels like a real treat after a few weeks in sleeping bags on expedition. We wish the best of luck to our team members as they embark on their next adventure(s).
We just heard from our team they are back at Union Glacier. This is a very welcome change after being stuck at Vinson Base Camp for five nights. At Union Glacier they can have a shower (ahhh!!) and the food is wonderful. The scenery is not so bad either. Lieve, who has been at Union Glacier awaiting their return, is surely happy to have their company.
The team reported today that after five nights at Vinson basecamp the weather appears good for flying both at VBC and at Union Glacier basecamp. People are excited and anticipating the flight back to UG and then onwards to Punta Arenas tomorrow. Though weather delays can be long and frustrating, it helps that Vinson basecamp has some of the best scenery in the world to admire (when it's not a white-out).
The weather clears a little, then clouds back over, making it not great for flying. Our team remains at Vinson Base Camp awaiting their flight back to Union Glacier. Their next opportunity to fly back to Punta Arenas is on January 24. Our fingers are crossed that the weather clears by then!
The Vinson team is still awaiting transport back to Union Glacier. The fog socking in Vinson Base Camp as well as snow at Union Glacier have prevented planes from flying this evening. They will wait and reassess in the morning to see if conditions are suitable.
We'll keep you posted.
The team reported in yesterday that they had descended back to Vinson Base Camp and they are now awaiting their flight back to Union Glacier.
Koen and Rick called in to say they had a nice ascent from Low Camp to High Camp en route to the summit of Vinson. Last night they had Low Camp to themselves while 52 climbers shared High Camp. Tonight they have High Camp almost all to themselves, having passed the descending climbers who are headed home.
The team reported in today that they spent the morning at Union Glacier observing a 100K marathon (thanks to foggy weather that delayed their flight). Later in the afternoon the weather cleared and they were able to fly to Vinson Base Camp where Koen and Rick departed for Low Camp. Lieve, down with a nasty respiratory infection, returned to Union Glacier. The flight was incredible with stunning views of the mountains below.
Woo hoo! The South Pole Last Degree Expedition reached the South Pole today in the late afternoon amidst cold temperatures, but a mostly sunny sky. They awoke to near whiteout conditions but by the time they broke camp the weather had cleared and they were able to see the South Pole station, officially called the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
Today the team had their most challenging day. Though the temperature may have been slightly warmer than yesterday there was a 10-15 kt wind out of the east that stole any warmth their bodies generated. Add to that an overcast sky that eventually turned into a total whiteout. This type of day is rarely fun, but you wouldn't know that from listening to the team.
The team reported in today that they had another "bluebird" day with lots of sun and only a light wind, but the temperature was noticeably colder, hovering around -30C. This makes it the coldest day yet.
The South Pole Last Degree team reported today that they had a great day despite it being the coldest day of the expedition (around -28C). There was partial sun that disappeared for the last hour and a half of their travel. Their current position is S 89.34, W 72.19.