Antarctica 2010: Weather Delays Start To The Season

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Earlier this week I posted a story about some of the more interesting Antarctic expeditions that are preparing to get underway and I wrote about ALE’s new base of operations on the continent, with the expectation that the season would begin today. Turns out, as in many outdoor adventures, the weather has the final say, and strong winds and snow at the new Union Glacier base are preventing planes from landing and delivering the first explorers to the ice.

A number of teams that are headed to the South Pole or to Mt. Vinson or one of the other popular climbing peaks, are in Punta Areanas, Chile where they have been organizing their gear and preparing to make the final journey aboard ALE’s Ilyushin jets to Antarctica. The first of those teams was expected to begin arriving at the Union Glacier camp today, but the weather had other plans, and now they’ll wait for a new weather window, which ExWeb says could come as early as this weekend.

At this point, teams are expected to be able to be ready to go on a two hour notice, and ALE already has staff on the ice that are prepared to dust the snow off the runway, built out of ice, so that the planes can land safely.

It seems that the 2010 Antarctic season could begin at any time, although it seems that it’ll be another day or two before the expeditions actually hit the ice. Expect updates to begin this weekend, with the skiers turning their compasses due south, while the climbers head to the mountains.

Here at Adventure Blog World Headquarters, it’s almost like Christmas Eve!

Kraig Becker