Summit Team Building

TPL Antarctica: On the Road Again

IMG_6516 (2)January 5 was departure day. I will give you a brief snap shot of what the next three weeks will look like for the team.

The first leg of the journey will be to fly from Toronto to Punta Arenas, Chile. Team members from across the country will meet in Toronto and board an Air Canada flight to Santiago, Chile. This flight of 10 hours will bring us well down the South American continent.

Once in Santiago the team will clear customs and check in for our domestic flight to Punta Arenas. This flight is about 4.5 hours and will bring us to our staging point for our Antarctic departure.

Once in Punta Arenas we will spend a couple of days packing and re-packing to make sure everything is set. A small mountain of supplies will be needed to keep the team safe and warm while on the ice of Antarctica. We will be packing tents, sleeping bags, stoves, cook sets, rope, technical climbing gear, food and communication equipment to name a few of the items.

While in Punta Arenas we will meet with our transport company that supplies the flight to Antarctica. Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions provides transportation for the vast majority or recreational expeditions to Antarctica. We will learn of the special packing and flight procedures for our journey further south and review the biosecurity and environmental policies for entering Antarctica.

On January 9th, weather permitting, we will board the Russian built Illusian transport jet and take off south. The flight is approximately 4.5 hours in length and there are few luxuries on board the plane.

We will land in the land of 24 hour sun on an ice runway 4km thick. After deplaning we will setting in for a few hours or a few days at this base awaiting the appropriate weather to fly to Mount Vinson base camp.

This short 45-minute flight is carried out with smaller Twin Otter planes. These planes are the workhorses of the North and the extreme South and have been transporting adventures and scientist for years in these inhospitable lands. Due to the size of our group we will require several flights to get the whole team to base camp and we will need to hope the weather holds so we can get all team members to base camp on the same day.

Once at base camp the climbing begins. We will establish a series of higher and higher camps until we reach our high camp after about 8-10 days. From high camp we will make our bid for the summit. This will be a long and hard day that will challenge all team members. The air temperature will hover around -45 celcius without factoring in the wind. The 8-12 hour climb up will be followed by a 5-7 hour climb down.

After a night of rest the team will re-trace their steps to the base of the mountain and back to base camp. Once at base camp we will call for our ride back to the flight base and eventually back to Punta Arenas, to Santiago and finally to Toronto.

This three week journey will be an adventure for all and a life changing opportunity for many.



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