Jacob Schmitz called in from the bottom of our planet today! After one day of delay in Punta Arenas, the team loaded up and flew the 4.5 hours from the tip of South America to land on the immense Union Glacier, on the continent of Antarctica. Not too long after arriving, two plane loads of climbers were able to fly the short, 20 minute jaunt to the snow runway at Vinson Base Camp, where our team is now gathered.
The flight from Punta Arenas is via a Russian cargo jet, and makes for a somewhat surreal transition from “civilization,” to what feels like a whole other world. After a few hours, ice bergs appear below, floating away from the massive ice flows that border parts of the continent. As the plan passes over the ice flows, the scenery below turns monochromatic until the plane lands on the blue ice runway.
One thing we try to stress to our climbers is the importance of committing early to pursuing their dreams of climbing Mount Vinson. The reason is that the sooner we can commit to seats on the planes, the closer our team gets to the front of the line for the flight to Vinson Base Camp (VBC).
Only two flights were able to make the short trip and our team was one of the first to make it to VBC. While others are waiting to fly at Union Glacier, our crew has already established their base camp and is preparing to move up the Branscomb Glacier to the first of their two camps on the mountain.