We may have edged a bit closer to the start of the 2011 Antarctic season, but it seems it hasn’t kicked off quite yet. According to an update on the Crossing The Ice expedition page, James Castrission and Justin Jones received late word from ALE that they wouldn’t be flying today, but could be setting out at last tomorrow. According to the post, bad weather at Union Glacier is still making things dicey, although ALE is planning a flight today to deliver their own personnel and gear to the camp.
The wait could be ending at last however, as ALE hopes to start shuttling teams to the ice tomorrow. Cas and Jonesy will check back in with the logistics company this evening with the hope that this time they’ll receive good news, and they can get on the plane at last. There gear has been packed on the big Ilyushin aircraft since Sunday, just waiting for the journey to begin.
Meanwhile, ExWeb points out that a number of other teams are quickly recalculating their average mileage in order to arrive at the South Pole on their projected dates. Because this year is the 100th anniversary of Amundsen and Scott, a number of teams are hoping to arrive at 90ºS on specific dates, namely December 14 (Amundsen’s arrival date) or January 17 (Scott’s arrival at the Pole). Further delays will increase the number of daily miles they’ll have to cover and inclement weather could slow them further. At the moment, it isn’t a pressing concern, but should the start of the early expeditions get delayed into next week, it could become a factor.
Hopefully the weather will be good tomorrow or Saturday to start the process of moving the teams out on the ice. I’m sure the first few days of delay weren’t nice, as it gave them the opportunity to enjoy some down time, rest up, eat more food, and spend time with friends and family. Now though, I suspect they’re all getting anxious to get underway.