Raining like mad, but so cool to be here!
01/05/2006, Punta Arenas
Bam were here. Crazy at times to think of what is possible. We all met in Dallas, Don and Carolyn are so pumped. Great team we will all be, much laughter. Don walks alot, and knows how many steps it takes to get there.
Fast forward many miles over vast oceans can´t imagine what goes on under ones plane as we fly obliviously over it all on our way south. I just stared out the window most the time not able to sleep, I never do. Excitment, anxiety....I kept looking towards Brazil for good reason!
Made it into Santiago, bam, new country. New smells, new money, new people, and wow were all together. Rounded up gear, and made the final leg to Punta Arenas. Bumpy in the aircraft, I love it all though.
Sat together tonight and poured over details of the expediton at Sotitos. An old friend and institution here in PA. Great to be back, taste the old famillar Sauvignons. Onto maps, plans, details, and more details. It´s as if were off into space, it may as well be space.
This part of the world is truly incredible, vast windswept regions. Trees bent over from incessant wind, windows worn out from constant abuse of nature, thick sweaters, wollen scarves and not an umbrella to be seen any place. Hell I don´t think they´d stay intact in this wind, punishing but invigorating no doubt. That is life, feeling it in your face, at least at that moment it was refreshing! This is Patagonia after all, it should be windy!
We do a long equipment check in the AM, then it´s the food purchase. Don and Carolyn tonight along with myself rubbed Magellans toe, we will be back for the same in 20 days. Those in the know, it´s a.....integral. One rubs noses otherwise, and that is just fine, it all works to ones benefit.
Departures for team
Photo of Don Lewis and Carolyn Gatesy on the summit of Mt. Hood, Oregon, 2005.
Okay then, web in my head is starting to clear. Details, details all in the name of FUN in the land of Sun! Don't forget the sun does not set this time of year on the ice.
Down to the wire as we prepare for another great expedition down to Antarctica. No doubt a highlight of the year. All of our final preparations are complete and were officially ready for our trip to begin.
Our team members for 2006 season are Don Lewis and Carolyn Gatesy. An adventourous husband and wife team hailing from Marlborough, CT. SEI is proud to have them as team members on this expedition to the highest point in Antarctica.
Brief biography on each climber:
Donald Lewis, 62, is the founder and president of Foley Services, Inc., of Glastonbury, Conn. Foley Services is a leading provider of DOT safety regulation program services with a focus on drug and alcohol testing programs for motor carriers. He has hiked, backpacked, and trekked extensively throughout the US as well as around the world including extensive treks in Asia and the summiting of Kala Pathar at 18,182 feet.
Carolyn Gatesy has been adventurous and involved in sports all her life, starting with competitive swimming for over 15 years, then running, triathlons, tons of hiking and backpacking, and maintained a great love for the beauty and excitement of climbing mountains.
She has a BS degree in Math and Computer Science, an MS in Math, and an MBA in Finance. She has been an entrepreneur for over 25 years mostly in IT but have also written a now "sold out" book on staying in Firetowers and Lookouts in the Northwest. She currently operates an Office Business Center in CT and has 2 bright creative kids, Trevor age 13 (we are climbing all the highpoints in the US together) and Alexandra age 11 who would rather dance and sing.
Hats off to them both. Antarctica holds a special place in my heart, and having the chance to lead such wonderful folks will be a great treat for me.
I will not actually begin doing daily dispatches until I reach Punta Arenas, but I never know. Don and Carolyn will both be helping share the load with daily dispatches as well. This of course is after were done with all the daily chores once on ice.
One of the biggest technical issuse I've faced in past years is dealing with the need for power. Managing power, and of course having enough is a huge consideration. I've figured it out, and have come up with good solutions. I unlike other expeditions rely on a lap-top versus a PDA, as I personally like to edit, and configure video as well as other things a PDA can't do. What that means though is between shooting video, digital cameras, satphones and of course the lap-top, energy is consumed quickly. In the past I was able to augment solar and wind turnbines into a standard 12 volt battery array, and with the help of invertors were on our way. This season I've tried to reduce the weight of everything, while of course having enough power to do what I needed. I've taken a 12 volt gell cell battery, incorporated a 14 volt 950Ma solar panel with an internal solar selector that prevents overcharged batteries, and then I incorporated a 75 Watt invertor into it as well. And away we go. So far all the test have worked out well, and I've had plenty of power. Basically I figure someone may find this intresting, and probably can offer me great tips for making it better and even lighter, but hey it's what works well....
That is it for now. See you in a couple from Punta Arenas
12/22/2005, Colorado Springs
2 weeks before I depart with clients onto the Antarctic continent. A trip that has one flying over the worlds largest bodies of ice and snow. A continent from the outside appearing void of life. Vast and remote, certainly a major undertaking, and exciting to say the least.
As I prepare for that expedition and several others this winter I wanted to extend a very Merry Christmas to everyone that tunes into our webcast.
We will be departing for the ice January 4th. This will be my 14th expedition. Look for our trip reports to begin around the 6th of January.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.