Back to Union Glacier


Yesterday, when we arrived at the South Pole, the tumult started: there were already acquaintances waiting for the flight, and another acquaintance came five hours after us. So the evening went late into the night, sitting and talking in the food tent. There were a lot of really experienced adventurers in the group, so there were plenty of stories. The return to everyday life was harsh when you had to go from the warm mess tent to your own tent to sleep: it was about -30 centigrade below zero outside, as it had been practically the whole previous week. We asked other expeditions (with working thermometers) about their temperature readings, and based on those, we may have reported temperatures that were too high.

In the morning, the wake-up call was at five o'clock, and after a quarter of an hour, the stuff was picked up to be packed on the plane. The departure time was a bit unusual, as the weather window was closing in both the South Pole and Union Glacier. The aircraft took off as planned at 6:30 with us, about ten others, and lots of gear. Unlike a regular airliner, this one is an old DC-3 workhorse (the engines have been replaced with more powerful ones), and the passengers are tightly enclosed in down wear to not freeze in the early parts of the flight. In today's picture, the view from the seat: 20 cm from the right shoulder, there was stuff all through the plane, tightly attached from the floor to the ceiling. There were expedition sledges, empty jet fuel tanks, camping tents, urine canisters, and other stuff that had already been dismantled. The season here will end soon, and everything will be dismantled.

After a four-hour flight, we just had time to land on Union Glacier before the clouds appeared and the flying weather was over. We were well received: a "glacier hotel tent" had been arranged for us, our belongings left at the camp had already been taken there, the showers were open, and doctors were waiting for those who might need assistance. The shower here is a little unusual due to the conditions, but it worked well and was an extraordinary experience after two months without one.

Unfortunately, our favorite place, the library/lounge, had already been dismantled.

Now we rest and wait again and hope the weather clears for the 757 flight scheduled for Friday; in the current weather, the plane does not take off from Punta in this direction at all.

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Inside Basler BT-67