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Pole to Pole

Day 136: Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas, Chile 
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The multicoloured roofs of Punta Arenas.
Michael Palin - Pole to Pole'That kept us together,' he grinned, 'no one wanted to be last.'

He leads a party of seven Australians and New Zealanders who are aiming to climb Mount Vinson - at 16,000 feet, the highest point on the continent of Antarctica. For some of them it will be the last in a series of expeditions to climb the highest peak of every continent. Graeme's co-leader is Peter Hillary, son of Sir Edmund, the first man known to have climbed Mount Everest.

A woman in the party, an Australian doctor, has flown a light plane from California to Sydney, across the USA and Europe. There is much talk of self-reliance, of testing themselves. An Australian lawyer and company director quotes Peter Hillary as his inspiration.

'It's the challenge of knowing what the limits are within which you can go, and pushing it right up to that limit.'

I'm quite relieved to meet Rudolph - 'Rudy, please' - W. Driscoll, a quiet, somewhat lugubrious American, who was already booked to fly to the Pole when we arrived. Rudy has not climbed mountains or flown light planes but since his divorce ten years ago he has been to the North Pole on a Russian ice-breaker (with eighty-nine others) and on the Trans-Siberian Railway.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 136
  • Country/sea: Chile
  • Place: Punta Arenas
  • Book page no: 302

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