Back at Union Glacier
We are now back at Union Glacier base camp. We arrived just in time for lunch yesterday. After a restful night at the base of Mt. Charles we packed up and started the ski back to Union Glacier base camp.
The initial part of the ski presented some tricky ground as the Sanchez, Union, and Driscoll glaciers collide. The ground was quite mixed up with ice waves and a lot of rock debris from Mt. Charles. Once past this, the skiing was slightly up hill but very gentle. It took us 2.5 hours to ski back. It was nice to see the tents of camp, but sad to see the end of the wilderness for this trip.
The ice marathon started on December 1st with 32 people running the marathon. The fastest time was 3:47 (male) and 4:26 (female). Beyond that, times ranged up to 8:45. Two Canadians ran in the race. December 2nd was the 100km run and six people set out for that. The fastest time was 14 hours and change, and some runners took close to 24 hours to complete it. I could hear runners finishing at all hours of the night as I slept in my tent at the side of the finish line. Temperatures ranged from -20° to -30°c for the run.
One runner set out to run 100 miles and completed his run in just over 24 hours. It is pretty amazing to see the runners accomplish this feat. They are all limping around Union Glacier today with sore muscles and blistered feet.One runner set a new world record for the fastest time to run a marathon on each of the seven continents; 25 days, 18 hours and 10 minutes. This beat the old record by four days.
Also of note was the fuel train that left here last night. As the twin otter planes have a limited flight range, they need to land and re-fuel for longer flights. A Piston Bully (snow cat) was hooked to 4 giant sleds for the 300mile/500km journey to The Fields re-fuel base. Four drivers and mechanics were ready for this two-week journey. The trip would take them through a wide variety of ground from gentle slopes to steep hills, from deep snow to ice and across crevasse filled glaciers. The train consisted of a utility and supply sled, a living pod, a sled of 150 forty-five gallon drums of aviation fuel, and a huge shipping container that will be used as a storage shed. They set off at 1am to cheers and wishes of good weather.
Today will be spent waiting for the plane to take us back to Punta Arenas. As of now, flights are grounded due to low clouds, but we hope this will change later in the day.
Hopefully my next blog will come from the hotel in Punta Arenas after a shower and a shave.
Please check out Adult Gummy Vitamins, Sherpa Adventure Gear and Ostrom Outdoors as they all played a part in the success of this trip.
What is your next challenge?
Summit life! Scott.