After landing in Punta Arenas two days ago are recovering somewhat from the incredible 30-hour flight, Sasha Abramov and I plunged full force into preparing the expedition. First we visited the office of ALE, which provides us with logistical support in Antarctica. Then we went to meet the flight crew of the IL-76 plane that will be shuttling between Punta Arenas at the Strait of Magellan to Patriot Hills in Antarctica.

The eight crew members turned out to be natives of the Moscow Region. We received a fairly warm welcome and were even treated to self-made dumplings. The guys told us that flights to Antarctica are a rare thing for them and that they never though destiny would take them to such places. In total they have completed five cargo and fuel trips to Antarctica and are prepared to make the sixth one the day after tomorrow – it is this flight that will take Alexander Abramov and the first team of alpinists to Antarctica.

So far we are all business – procuring food and gear. There is no spare time.

Reporting by Sergey Kofanov and Alexander Abramov