Pole to Pole
Day 138: Punta Arenas to Patriot Hills
I'm laying out my sleeping-bag when I hear the low roar of an aircraft, and get my head out of the tent just in time to see the DC-6 swoop less than thirty feet above the camp and away towards the mountains. Bruce is on his way back home and with him our only practical means of escape.
In the mess tent Scott, the doctor, and Sue from New Zealand have cooked up a hot, thick and nourishing meat and veg soup for everyone, after which the climbers - Japanese, Australian and New Zealanders - are ferried by single-engined Otter aircraft to the Mount Vinson Massif, one and a half hours away. Every bit of good, settled weather must be taken advantage of.
Peter Hillary is in the second wave of climbers to leave. He and his party will not be back for two weeks. I ask him if, as the son of Sir Edmund, he could ever have been anything other than a mountaineer.
Choose another day from Pole to Pole