Mt. Vinson – Day 15
A bright, bitterly cold, windless day greeted us on the 17th. Of all the days that we were counting on for good weather, this was probably the second most important (after summit day) because the Ilyushin cannot fly if the winds are too strong.
We loaded our gear into the big trucks and drove back out to the airfield to greet the Russian jumbo. Once the plane landed, we gave quick words of wisdom to the incoming climbers before jumping aboard and taking off on the 4.5 hour flight.
It felt odd to land in Punta Arenas. My phone buzzed to life for the first time in weeks and I urgently tried to review all that had happened in the world since I had left. It felt like all of the news I read was bad. In addition to the five hundred emails I had received (mostly from Banana Republic and J. Crew), the Newtown Shooting had happened and we still hadn’t resolved the Fiscal Cliff issue. Ah!
We said our goodbyes as we headed our separate ways – Britain, Colorado, and, for me, New Jersey then Micronesia with my family. After so many weeks getting so close to each other, it was sad to see my teammates go. I reassured myself (and them) that we would climb again in the near future.
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