ALE has successfully completed our 2012 tourist season. And what a season it has been. There have been highs and lows, lots of successes and some sad and disappointing news. But we wish all our guests and expeditions well and thank our Antarctic staff, aircrew, and those busy people behind the scenes at Punta Arenas and Salt Lake City that have helped to make all this possible.
2012 Season Wrap-up
Ski South Pole Expeditions
Congratulations to all of the 2012 South Pole expeditions: Ski South Pole-Messner, Aaron Lindsau, Roland Krueger, Vilborg Gissurardottir, Eric Larsen, and Richard Parks. Challenging conditions, including enormous sastrugi, tested their limits and caused several teams to change their plans or abandon their expeditions. We commend all of them for their commitment, their fortitude, and especially for their strength in the face of difficult decisions.
Mount Sidley Success
We would also like to highlight our Mount Sidley expedition and send congratulations to summiters: Vyacheslav Adrov, the first Russian (and only the third person ever) to complete the Volcanic Seven Summits; Olga Rumyantseva, who plans to climb the Volcanic Seven Summits in one year; Vitaly Simanovich; Paul Nicholson; and ALE guide David Hamilton. Special thanks to Paul, who inspired us to develop this Experience.
Bespoke Experiences and New Routes
Other new and exciting happenings included a bespoke trip to camp overnight at the South Pole. This was such a success that we will be offering a new South Pole Overnight Experience next season. Our Climb Antarctica and Ski Antarctica experiences continued to grow in popularity, with teams ticking off new routes near Union Glacier. On Mount Vinson, a Jagged Globe team led by Robert Anderson attempted a new route on Vinson’s southwest face. Unfortunately the team were turned back due to route and avalanche conditions, instead summitting by the standard route in an 18 hour push.
Contributing to Antarctic science is a core value for ALE and we had many great visits by researchers from as far afield as Australia, Brazil, Chile, and the United Kingdom. We hope our services have helped with your research and we look forward to welcoming you to Union Glacier again. We would like to extend a special thank you for the interesting lectures and informal conversations you shared with our guests and staff. This unique opportunity for ALE guests to mingle with top scientists greatly enriches our guests’ Antarctic experience and helps to raise the profile of ground-breaking Antarctic research.
We were sorry to hear that Subglacial Lake Ellsworth project did not achieve its main objective this season and wish the team well as they review the project and make future plans. News release
Our Guests Inspire Us!
To end on a high, we have enjoyed having so many well-informed and inquisitive guests stay with us at our Union Glacier camp. Your excitement for Antarctica is inspiring and is what makes our jobs so much fun! Next season is already looking like it will be busy, with guests asking for return trips. But we also look forward to meeting many news faces and wish you all a good year in the meantime.