Antarctica 2010: Hurry Up and Wait


My updates on the impending Antarctic season are starting to sound very repetitive, as once again the teams were denied travel to the frozen continent yesterday, despite the fact that it seemed that their departure from Chile was imminent. It seems that their old nemesis – name the weather, conspired against them once again, but this time in a completely different way.

Yesterday I reported that several of the teams had been contacted by ALE and were expecting to catch a flight out to Union Glacier sometime late in the day. They even collected their gear and supplies and were all set to go, but apparently at the last minute the flights were scrubbed once again due to high winds in and around Punta Arenas. Reportedly the winds were in excess of 70-80 knots (80-92 mph) which made it impossible for flights to get out to Antarctica.

Updates from both Chris Foot and Willem ter Horst indicate that they were sent back to their hotels yesterday to wait to see if they could get out today. Neither of those two South Pole skiers has updated today to indicate if they have gotten out of Punta and are now in Union Glacier.

At this point, I’ve given up on trying to predict when the season will officially get underway. It’ll start when the weather says so, and no sooner. I just hope it allows for everyone to complete their expeditions successfully.

Update: And it looks like ALE’s planes are finally in the air, as ExWeb is now reporting that the first of the Antarctic explorers are now on their way, at long last, to the continent. Some are as much as two weeks behind schedule, but are certainly anxious to get back on track. Updates from the ice soon. No! Really, I mean it this time!

Kraig Becker