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Antarctica: Patriot Hills 1987 - 2012

Posted: Nov 15, 2012 10:34 pm EST

(Newsdesk) Twenty-five years ago, on November 21st, 1987, ANI made history with the first-ever landing of a conventional wheeled aircraft in Antarctica when Captain Jim Smith landed a Douglas DC-4 on a blue-ice airfield at Patriot Hills.

Until 2009 the South Pole skiers and Vinson climbers stepped out of the airplane onto the slippery blue-ice at Patriot Hills for an experience of a lifetime. After the new blue-ice runway became operational at Union Glacier in November 2010, PH remains ANI’s secondary runway in Antarctica.

Solo return skier, Aaron Linsdau, has reached Patriot Hills from his Hercules Inlet start point. He started traveling to the South Pole on November 2nd. And two Australian Scientists, Prof. Chris Turney and Dr. Chris Fogwill, are heading to the Patriot Hills for science field work.

Aaron Linsdau at Patriot Hills

Aaron Linsdau hasn't left a new dispatch the past two days due to not enough solar power to recharge his satellite phone. His expedition manager, Kelly Bradstreet, sent over news to ExplorersWeb about him, saying Aaron was able to charge up his satellite phone a bit yesterday having some sun, which he hasn't had in a couple days. She says he is doing well and his cold sounds much better.

"And, as far as his direction, he is at Patriot Hills now and instead of going over the pass he will go around, between Red Pass and the Three Sails." She added he is on his ski now, instead of walking, finding it easier and his drag force feels lighter.

ANI Topographic Maps

ANI has commissioned a series of topographic maps of the Ellsworth Mountains, from Mount Vinson south to Patriot Hills. The new maps (as in the image on the left) are based on the latest datasets and satellite imagery. They provide much greater detail than existing maps of the region and so will be invaluable to ANI guides and guests as well as scientists working in the region, said ANI in a press release.

The six maps in the 1:100 000 Ellsworth Mountain series cover the area from Mount Vinson in the north to Patriot Hills in the south. A seventh map, 4a Union Glacier at 1:35 000 offers a more detailed view of ANI's camp area and surroundings:

• Map 1 Vinson Massif
• Map 2 Minnesota Glacier
• Map 3 Schanz Glacier
• Map 4 Union Glacier 100k
• Map 4a Union Glacier 35k
• Map 5 Meyer Hills
• Map 6 Patriot Hills

Read more about the maps here.

First-ever landing at Patriot Hills

Twenty-five years ago Adventure Network International (ANI) made history with the first-ever landing of a conventional wheeled aircraft in Antarctica. On November 21, 1987, Captain Jim Smith landed a Douglas DC-4 on a blue-ice runway at Patriot Hills in the Ellsworth Mountains, reported ANI in their blog. "This ground-breaking achievement changed the face of aviation in Antarctica, and paved the way for direct flights from Punta Arenas in Chile without the need for refueling stops along the way."

Read more about the flight that changed Antarctic Aviation here and see also photos of that time.

Australian Science Expedition at Patriot Hills

Prof. Chris Turney and Dr. Chris Fogwill from the University of New South Whales will be returning to the Patriot Hills after their last two seasons in Antarctica from November 23rd to December 17th (weather permitting).

Turney explains on his website, "Instead of coring for past climate, we'll be working across the blue ice surface (and against the elements!) to collect precious surface samples. The idea is this will produce the first detailed climate reconstruction for the region over the last twenty thousand years. By extending ‘historical’ records of the last few decades, we hope we’ll gain a better understanding of how Antarctic ice sheets respond to past and future change. At least that’s the plan..."

Turney also announced a 2013-14 science expedition: "Taking a team of 30 women and men south, the new Australasian Antarctic Expedition will set out for two remote parts of Antarctica – Heard Island and Enderby Land – both of which have seen relatively little exploration over the past hundred years and for which we have few scientific measurements."

The Hercules Inlet route starts at 80°S and covers a distance of 1130 km to the Geographic South Pole at 90°S.
The start point at the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner route) covers a distance of 890 km to the Geographic South Pole at 90°S.

Gateway port Cape Town, South Africa:
To ALCI base camp Novolazarevskaya / Novo
(70° 46’37”S, 011° 49’26”E).
Gateway port Punta Arenas, Chile, South America:
To ALE/ANI base camp, Union Glacier
(79° 45'S, 083° 14'W).
Gateway port Christchurch, New Zealand:
To USA science station McMurdo, and other
(77°50'39"S, 166°40'22"E)

Expeditions with RSS feeds can be followed in the live Dispatch stream at the Pythom App for iPhone and on Android as well as at ExplorersWeb.

ExplorersWeb South Pole Expedition List

AdventureStats Polar Statistics

South Pole speed record special: Polar Express - leaving from where, exactly?

AdventureStats Special: What is Solo?

Polar Rules of Adventure

NOAA South Pole Live Camera


#Polar #topstory

Re-fuelling the DC-4 at Patriot Hills blue-ice runway, 1987.
courtesy ANI, SOURCE
The first Patriot Hills camp with the plane on the blue-ice and the tents on the foothills.
courtesy ANI, SOURCE
ANI map of Hercules Inlet and Pattriot Hills area.
Image by Aaron Linsdau courtesy ALE/ANI, SOURCE
Patriot Hills from the air with the blue-ice visible on the foot of the mountains.
courtesy Chris Turney, SOURCE
Chris Turney: "We'll be working across the blue ice surface to collect precious surface samples. The idea is this will produce the first detailed climate reconstruction for the region over the last twenty thousand years." In the image, patterns of air trapped in the blue-ice at Patriot Hills.
Image by Correne Coetzer ExplorersWeb, SOURCE