We are still imprisoned by the weather. Although it is -10 at Patriot Hills, windchill to -20, winds 10 knots and gusting – it is still closed in on Mt. Vinson.
The Twin Otters are flying to the South Pole. There are two groups of clients on that flight those going to see the South Pole, and those that are skiing the last degree (of latitude). The Vinson group is holed up in Patriot Hills. One of the climbers from the Mountain Madness group has opted to go back to Puntas Arenas (the Russian beast flew in at 3 am last night with another load of adventurer’s) in order to guarantee he is home for Christmas. The Mountain Trip group is doing well and sends their hello’s to their loved ones.
There has been lots of discussion amongst the different Mt. Vinson groups as it is entirely clear that even if we fly to Vinson tonight there is no way we will be able to make the flight out on the 16th. There is a flexible (not hard to imagine – weather being what it is) flight from PH to PA – which they will hold for the Mt. Vinson climbers. As a result the team has opted to hope for a flight to Mt. Vinson in the next few days and return on the flexi-flight, which will be about 7 days later. Hence it is highly unlikely that any of us will be home for Christmas given the delays we have already experienced based on weather.
Though this is not the ideal arrangement we do want to give ourselves every chance to see/summit Mount Vinson Massif. However ultimately it may not be in the cards unless the weather starts to finally answer our prayers.