Antarctica 2012-13 wrap-up: Solo skier on stand-by; Union Glacier runway good for landing

Posted: Oct 29, 2012 04:01 pm EDT

(Newsdesk) The only skier flying in with ALE/ANI’s first passenger flight to Antarctica, Aaron Linsdau, has weighed in his equipment yesterday. Butter will make up a full third of his menu, he says in a dispatch. He told ExWeb he couldn’t find cheese in Punta Arenas that will agree with him and decided to add more butter as planned.

In his latest dispatch Aaron says there will be no flight this morning (Chilean time). “The next update I will receive will be at 6 PM this evening. There is a chance that I could fly this evening, however it’s more likely tomorrow morning if all is well. ALE reports that the runway looks good for landing at least.”

A few ANI staff members have already arrived at Union Glacier October 24th, working around the clock, setting up camp and preparing the blue-ice runway for the Ilyushin 76 Russian cargo plane. The IL-76 lands on wheels on the blue-ice, while the Twin Otters and Basler/DC-3 land on skis on a skiway.

ANI reported the camp caches have over-wintered well and look in good shape. The blue-ice runway has little snow coverage and the snow surface around camp is very hard.

Another group of ANI staff were grounded by the weather for a few days at Rothera.

Aaron’s preparations in Punta Arenas

Aaron says in his blog it’s important to ensure his butter is well taken care of on the plane to Antarctica as it contains 2000 calories of his daily ration.

All 5 of his gear bags plus the 2 duffels of butter weighed in at 152kg / 334lbs, he reports on the blog. “Not nearly as bad as I expected, though that weight makes me feel like I’m missing something.”

“I’ll receive my 6 cans of fuel and 6 liters of water in Antarctica. Another 55 lbs.”

He says for the first 10 days he’ll be “struggling mightily, as not everything will likely fit in my sled bags. The trick will be to avoid looking like a Turkish bazaar.”

Other Expeditions

The Lake Ellsworth scientists have arrived in Punta Arenas. Their logistics are handled by ALE/ANI.

ANI guide Hannah McKeand and her two team mates are busy with last preparations at home. So is Richard Parks, who is reportedly skiing solo from Hercules Inlet in November. Parks has completed his 737 Challenge in 6 months, 11 days, 7 hours and 53 minutes; climbing the Seven Summits, the highest summit on each continent, and standing on both Poles. He skied the last degree (110km) to the South Pole and now wants to ski the 1130km from the coast to the Pole.

NASA’s Operation IceBridge

NASA’s DC-8 acts as a flying laboratory for Operation IceBridge; flying over the continent to measure changes in the massive ice sheet and sea ice. NASA’s Operation IceBridge is a multi-year airborne campaign to monitor changes in Earth’s polar ice caps in both the Antarctic and Arctic.

IceBridge science flights from Punta Arenas, Chile, began on October 12th and continue through early November.

Heads up: female POI expedition

Earlier this year, Hajar Ali, completed a motorized expedition across the Rub’ al Khali (Empty Quarter) Desert, according to her, making her the first woman to complete a crossing of the Empty Quarter Desert; traveling from Abu Dhabi, UAE, to Salalah, Oman.

Hajar sent over news to ExplorersWeb that she is preparing for a kite-ski expedition to the South Pole of Inaccessibility (POI), with its distinctive marker, a bust of Lenin. Only men have reached the POI on foot and if successful, Hajar would be the first woman to do so.

She told ExWeb she will be training for Antarctica with Paul Landry. "We start training (kite skiing in Norway!) :) this December.” There will be a total of three training sessions, the last taking place in June in New Zealand.

The Pole of Inaccessibility on Antarctica is defined as the point on the Antarctic Continent furthest from the Ocean. Paul Landry led a team of three men from the coast of Antarctica near Novo Base to the POI in 2006-07. In an interview with ExplorersWeb he said the Russians were super excited to see the photos of Lenin.

Last season Sebastian Copeland and Eric McNair-Landry reached the POI during their kite-ski crossing of the continent from the runway at Novo Base, via the POI, to the Geographic South Pole and finally Hercules Inlet. Eric told ExWeb seeing Lenin was odd to encounter; “such an icon in such a vast and empty land, for one it felt like stepping back in time, or to a paralleled universe.”

South Pole of Inaccessibility 2011-12 position:
S82°06.696, E055°01.951
Geographic South Pole: 90 degrees South

Gateway port Cape Town, South Africa:
To ALCI/TAC base camp Novolazarevskaya / Novo
(70° 46’37”S, 011° 49’26”E).
Gateway port Punta Arenas, Chile, South America:
To ALE/ANI base camp, Union Glacier
(79° 45'S, 083° 14'W).
Gateway port Christchurch, New Zealand:
To USA science station McMurdo, and other
(77°50'39"S, 166°40'22"E)

Expeditions with RSS feeds can be followed in the live Dispatch stream at the Pythom App for iPhone and on Android as well as at ExplorersWeb.

ExplorersWeb preliminary South Pole Expedition List


#Polar #topstory

NASA’s DC-8 flying laboratory passes Antarctica’s tallest peak, Mount Vinson, on Oct. 22, 2012,
Image by NASA courtesy NASA, SOURCE
Solo return skier Aaron Linsdau upon arrival at his hotel, Condor de Plata, in Punta Arenas.
Image by Aaron Linsdau courtesy Aaron Linsdau, SOURCE
Aaron packing SP breakfasts in The Condor's dining room.
Image by Aaron Linsdau courtesy Aaron Linsdau, SOURCE
Butter, and more butter.
Image by Aaron Linsdau courtesy Aaron Linsdau, SOURCE
Aaron's bags, with the pink tags, picked up by ALE, "not everything will likely fit in my sled bags. The trick will be to avoid looking like a Turkish bazaar.”
Image by Aaron Linsdau courtesy Aaron Linsdau, SOURCE
Punta Arenas, corner of Boris and Colon.
Image by Aaron Linsdau courtesy Aaron Linsdau, SOURCE

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