Antarctica 2010: The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

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The Antarctica 2010 season should be underway by now, but the weather continues to refuse to cooperate. Flights out of Punta Areanas to the continent are still grounded as high winds and snow keep everyone waiting for their opportunity. It has gotten so bad that some of the teams are wondering if their window of opportunity could close before they ever hit the ice.

In his latest dispatch today, Chris Foot talks about the feeling of having to wait for his chance to hit the ice, and he personally estimates that if he is in Antarctica by Saturday of this week, he’ll still be able to complete his rather ambitious expedition to travel to the South Pole on skis then return to his starting point again, a journey that has never been done before. Chris will be traveling solo and unsupported over 1390+ miles, and after 10 days in Chile, he sounds like he is more than ready to get underway.

Not everyone is feeling as optimistic as Foot however, as he notes that other explorers are already feeling the time crunch. Some feel that the completion of their expeditions is hanging in the balance, and they haven’t even faced their first obstacles yet. Most of them have their gear sorted and sleds packed, and they’re simply awaiting the word from ALE that it’s time to go, but an expected weather window this past weekend failed to open, and things remain sketchy through this week as well.

Hopefully the weather will break in the next few days, and ALE can begin shuttling the explorers and climbers to their new base at Union Glacier. That location was suppose to be better situated than Patriot Hills, offering more protection from the wind and other weather patterns, but at the moment it seems to not have helped at all.

My prediction? The weather will break in a day or two and these eager explorers can get underway at last. I know I’m ready, and I’m just following along from home!

Kraig Becker