Halley Diary — November 2011

30 November, 2011

It was to be another very busy start to what would be another very season. The first of many flights and transits were due out on the 23rd Oct 2011, for what was the deciding season on whether to winter in Halley 6’s new swanky base. For me, my journey started with a series of connecting flights from Heathrow, Madrid and Punta Arenas, before heading further South, to the 80 degree Union Glacier base, leading onto Halley.

After much anticipation and waiting in Punta Arenas, our departure was finally upon us, to Union Glacier — a route never before tried by BAS and a place never before seen by me! It would be the Ilyushin flight, taking us into Union and landing on their blue ice runway.

The Union Glacier camp is located in the southern Ellsworth Mountains. This makes it very close for technical climbers heading towards Mount Vinson — Antarctica’s highest peak. Its nearest neighbours being those at the Pole, just over 600 miles away.

Our flight time would take around 4 1/2 hrs from Punta, in Chilie to Union, give or take depending on weather conditions. On arrival we were greeted by some rather exotic, custom built trucks, of which recently traversed to the South Pole and back.

What was to be a short and brief stay at Union, did however end up being 21 days of exceptional hospitality and scenery. We witnessed expeditions preparing to take part in the Centennial events of Scott’s efforts 100 years ago.

Alas, after much relaxation it was our turn, to face the good fortunes of the weather Gods, and a weather window opening for us to head for Halley.