May 26, 2017

Glacier Benito Journal: Winding Up – Saturday 15th April

Posted by larryohanlon

See the other posts from this expedition here

By Martin Sessions

First excursion in the morning was by Marcos and Olaf to Level II Finger Lower Cairn to measure its position using the Survey GPS. After that they moved to Level I Finger Lower Cairn to repeat the survey activity. In the meantime, Mark and Johnny undertook a drone flight over the ridge to the North to view a route that John, Angus and I took in 1972 to Glacier Frankei and then on to that expedition’s Advance Base Camp. In the process, the drone only just cleared the ridge. Mark and Johnny established that the drone’s ceiling was limited to 500 m above take off height by its software.

View of Glacier Frankie in Middle Distance

View over the Ridge to the North of Glacier Benito towards Glacier San Quintin

At 1300, we regrouped and went on to the glacier. Marcos, Mark and Johnny went to fly the Mavic drone from a medial moraine on the glacier. They repeated the flight to Stake 10 and also undertook a survey of Dump Ridge in the vicinity of where Level II cairns should be. Total flight distance in this case was 9.27 km, close to the Mavic’s limit of 10 km. Olaf and I recovered four orange marker panels still remaining on the glacier. For some reason our magnetic compasses were swinging violently as we walked across the glacier so we went off route on a couple of occasions. Zigzagging across the glacier, we returned to camp at 1700 to find that camp was unoccupied. Marcos, Mark and Johnny had climbed up the Finger to above the Level I Finger cairn in order to gain additional altitude so that the drone could fly to the top of Co Caldenius and the Finger. The flight to the top of Co Caldenius was about three kms each way and the drone had to reach 1300 m absl which it did just. At the top of each point, panoramas were taken for comparison with photographs taken in 1973. As the trio returned to camp, they found the upper cairn and marker for Level I Finger.

The Mavic approaches the Summit of Co Caldenius

The Upper Marker for Level I Finger was still intact

— Next: Departure —

This post was originally published here

Martin Sessions was born in Kenya in 1948 but educated in England, finishing up with a degree in Engineering at Cambridge University (Pembroke College). For 28 years, he served in the Royal Navy as an Engineer Officer before migrating to Australia where he is an engineering consultant in Canberra. His first expedition was to Koldukvislarjokull in the North West corner of Vatnajokull, Iceland in 1970. Then followed expeditions to Chilean Patagonia (1972/73) and Liverpool Land, Greenland (1977). Finally he made expeditions to Glacier Benito in 2007, 2011 and 2017 to capitalize on work undertaken there in 1972/73.