Entries From Vinson 11-19-13

Vinson Massif Expedition:  Switcheroo at Vinson Base Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 10, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 7,000'

The RMI Vinson teams traded places this evening.  It was a day of wait-and-see as far as flying was concerned.  High winds at Union Glacier, high winds in the intended flight path through the Ellsworth Mountains, and big winds that we could see on the upper slopes of Vinson.  But things began to calm as the day went on and there was continued hope that the flight would happen before the day was out.  I’d just sat down to dinner with group one at Vinson Base when news came that group two was in the air headed our way.  Kara, Juan, Piotr, and Spencer packed fast and watched the ski equipped twin otter make a perfect uphill landing on the Branscomb.  It was great to see Bill, Sarah, Fatima, and Larry emerge from the plane.  The two teams mingled and compared notes as the plane was unloaded and reloaded.  We were all happy to hear that team 2 was treated to such a fine time during their several days stay at Union.  And I believe team 2 was relieved to see that team 1 had managed to come through a Vinson climb appearing happy and no worse for the wear. 
Then it was load up time and I said goodbye to team 1.  We shared some wonderful times together. Rumor has it that there are Ilyushin flights scheduled as early as tomorrow, so perhaps they’ll be luckier on their Antarctic exit than they were on their entrance.  Team 2 bedded down for the night at VBC… Ready to climb.
Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

3

It’s great to hear that team 2 had an exciting plane trip and is now at Vinson Base. Have a great climb Larry.

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Posted by: Mark on 12/11/2013 at 6:38 am

Enjoy Vinson! Hope the team has a great experience down there!
Love to Fatima,
Peter

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Posted by: Peter Williamson on 12/11/2013 at 4:51 am


Vinson Massif: No Fly Zone

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 09, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 7,000'

The storm finally hit.  Crazy clouds were forming over the upper mountain as we went to bed last night.  The morning at Vinson Base was devoid of sunshine and chock full of newly falling snow.  It is actually a rare thing to get five inches of powder snow in this place, like rain in the desert, but that is what we got.  Flying -either to get the successful summiteers out or to bring in our next team of climbers from Union Glacier- was not happening.  It was a hunker down day.  The word was that the teams up the mountain were doing the same.  Rest and relaxation wasn’t exactly an unwelcome plan for the day for my team.  Most had sore feet and tired knees after the last few big days of up and down walking.  Each climber is ready to be moving on when conditions permit, of course.  Juan wanted to be sure that Eva Maria knew he was wishing her a very happy 21st birthday from Antarctica

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Union Glacier map
3

Five inches of powder snow? Is it time for skiing? Be safe and hunker down! Thinking of you.

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Posted by: Mom/Grandma on 12/10/2013 at 8:16 am

Larry: Your climbing report card is full of A’s - Antarctica and Alaska and Aconcagua…Congratulation…Post pics please…Waltero

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Posted by: waltero glover on 12/10/2013 at 7:03 am


Vinson Massif Expedition:Team #1 Returns to Base Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 08, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 7,000'

The day went pretty well on schedule.  We were up at around 8 AM at high camp, thankful that the winds had not yet found our tents.  It was obviously kicking a bit higher, with streamers of snow blowing off ridges and frozen dust devils dancing across our ascent route of the day before.  But we were granted calm and sunny conditions in which to eat breakfast and pack for the descent.  We bailed out of high camp at 11:20 and carefully picked our way down the fixed lines.  Coming into Low Camp was a bit of a shock as there were dozens of climbers there and we’d gotten so used to having the mountain to ourselves.  Folks were hanging there rather than ascending since forecasts say that the winds will build and dominate the upper mountain for several days.  We shuffled our loads, repacked and headed down to Vinson Base, arriving by 5:30 PM.  No flights back to Union today as the winds have the pilots hunkering down, so we set tents and enjoyed a victory dinner together at 7000 ft on the Branscomb Glacier. 
Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

4

Congratulations, Larry.  It looks really cold in the photos, but I could not tell how technical the climb was.  Barbara in Dallas

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Posted by: Barbara gunnin on 12/9/2013 at 11:04 am

Juan

Otro éxito mas y un ciclo cerrado por fin.

Recibe un fuerte abrazo de Mary,Beatriz y Alejandra

Nos vemos para festejar!!!

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Posted by: alejandro on 12/9/2013 at 9:13 am


Vinson Massif: Dave Hahn & Team Summit!

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 07, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 16,067'

Safe and sound at high camp, once again.  It was such a nice day that we spent an hour on the Vinson summit.  The trip back down took three hours and so we arrived back at high camp around 8:30 PM, making for 11 hours round trip on the day.  Almost as soon as we reached camp, the weather began to change, with glacier fog down below and patches of cumulus forming around the upper slopes of the big peaks.  Light winds have begun to stir the tents.  We’ll now hope they don’t turn into heavy winds until after we’ve gotten down the fixed ropes in the morning.  We are all feeling pretty fortunate to have had the day we had on the Roof of Antarctica.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

RMI Climbers above Vinson High Camp on Summit Day.  Photo: Dave Hahn RMI Climbers making their final steps to the summit of the Vinson Massif. Photo: Dave Hahn


RMI Guide Dave Hahn from the Vinson summit!

On The Map

7

Muchas felicidades padre mío, que bueno que ya lograste uno mas de tus objetivos te mandó un fuerte abrazo!!!

Juan, tu hijo preferido

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Posted by: Juan on 12/9/2013 at 3:09 pm

Muchas felicidades padre mío, que bueno que ya lograste uno mas de tus objetivos te mandó un fuerte abrazo!!!

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Posted by: Juan Glenn on 12/9/2013 at 2:57 pm


Vinson Massif: High Time We Got To High Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 06, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 12,300'

Our string of good days continues.  We made good use of this one as well, climbing in good style to our 12,300 ft high camp.  We were up at the crack of 11:15 AM as usual for low camp… waiting for the sun.  But then it was a big flurry of activity for us as we ate brunch, knocked down the tents and packed up our packs.  Spikes were on and we hit the trail at 1:30 PM.  We made great progress today, with everybody feeling strong and enjoying the limitless scenery.  Likely we are getting the benefit of having already climbed most of the way on our carry two days back, and certainly yesterday’s rest didn’t hurt.  As we got higher on the fixed lines, it did seem like we were able to see for hundreds of miles… the horizon couldn’t actually have been that far, but when it is ice as far as the eye can see, it does start to feel global in scale.

We were lucky to have calm conditions as we exited the ropes and made our way up the last 500 vertical feet to camp.  We managed it all in a respectable six hours, pulling in at 7:30 PM.  Everybody was in a pretty good and optimistic mood, as they should be.  If the good weather continues we could be on the summit tomorrow afternoon. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

An RMI Climber at the top of the fixed lines on the Vinson Massif. Photo: Peter Whittaker Collection

On The Map


Vinson Massif: Rest Day

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 05, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 9,100'

Again it was bitterly cold in the hours before the sun hit low camp, but then the rest of the day was calm sunny and perfect.  We took full advantage by resting the day away.  We ate, we drank, we napped and we repeated ourselves.  The teams that went for the top (some with success, some without) came by on their descent and we traded notes and wished each other well.  It is certainly our hope that tomorrow we will go for high camp feeling stronger and more ready as a result of today’s rest.  But as usual, we need continued good luck in the weather department.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

An RMI Team on the Branscomb Glacier.  Photo: Jake Norton
1

Larry and Crew
So god to hear things are progressing smoothly.  It sure is fun tracking your adventure!  Stay safe and united!!!
Fred K

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Posted by: Fred Klingbeil on 12/7/2013 at 9:30 am


Vinson Massif Expedition: Top of the Ropes Carry

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 04, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 9,100'

Another perfect weather-less day, a bunch more Antarctic climbing.  The sun didn’t show until 11:15 AM -as expected, but even knowing it would be cold in the hours before the sun didn’t keep us from being a little shocked at the big chill.  We put our crampons on and took our ice axes in hand for today’s climb, happy that the sled-pulling approach is done and that the real climbing has begun.  We took about five hours to carry a load of food and gear from camp to the top of the fixed ropes.  The terrain was up continuously steep and firm snow.  It was a pretty good workout and perfect from an acclimatization standpoint as we reached 11,800 feet.  We descended carefully, working out the kinks in our fixed line technique, and were back in camp by 8:30 PM. 
We seem to have the mountain all to ourselves now as the other teams turned out to be on schedules that put them well ahead of us.  We’ll likely take a rest day tomorrow to firm up the aforementioned acclimatization before our final assault on the heights. 
Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

An RMI Team camped at Low Camp on Mt. Vinson.  Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

4

Ya falta poco!!!! Ánimo !!!

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Posted by: Eva Lecea on 12/5/2013 at 11:52 pm

  Larry…Yet still another adventure of a lifetime…You have been busy since Jan 2012…Do your Aconcagua team proud my man…Godspeed…Waltero

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Posted by: walter glover on 12/5/2013 at 8:41 am


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Spend High Times at Low Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 03, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 9,100'

Today was another perfect day, weatherwise.  We were up at 9:15 AM when the nightly chill of the lower Branscomb Glacier eased.  Then it was time for breakfast and packing… our normal ritual.  We were on our way just after 1 PM as planned.  Our packs were heavy but the team is strong.  We made decent time up to the cache from yesterday, and in fact we continued to make good time once we added those big sled loads.  From the time we turned North, hard up against the gigantic western face of Vinson, we found excellent firm snow conditions.  Great for walking, great for dragging sleds.  We reached low camp at 6:30 PM and set to work, chiseling a camp into the hard surface.  It took the entire gang of five to get a dining/cooking pit dug, but we got it done and had our POSH tent in place for a late but sunny supper.  Now it is just after midnight and the sun is making the tents good and toasty.  We will have it that way until at least 3 AM but then the sun will run into Vinson and we won’t feel its warmth again until 11 AM when it emerges on the other side of the mountain. 

We hope to complete a carry up the fixed lines tomorrow with a plan to spend tomorrow night in Low Camp again. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

RMI climbers ascending the Branscomb Glacier.  Photo: Seth Waterfall

On The Map

1

Kare Kare!!
Thinking of you and your team out there! I was in SD and Flo was complaining about the cold and I said just think of Kara and… read more

Posted by: Farah Hedwig on 12/4/2013 at 2:01 pm


Vinson Massif Expedition: Big Day

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 02, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 7,200'

We woke to a perfect day at Union Glacier and proceeded to make the most of it.  By 10:15 AM we were getting airborne in a Canadian Twin Otter.  There were no clouds to be seen, just mountain after mountain and glacier after glacier.  Thirty something minutes into our flight, the mountains got enormous, which meant we were headed in the right direction.  A few minutes more and we were circling the Branscomb Glacier and checking out the snow strip runway.  After a flawless touchdown, the team got out, said “wow” a lot and began hauling gear toward a likely set of tent sites.  We built camp, sorted gear, sat for a great briefing with ALE’s Basecamp manager and by 5 PM were ready to go for a walk.  The teams that had come in yesterday were already moving up the mountain, but we were content to simply do a carry up to “half camp” and then return to base for the night.  Vinson base is at 7,000 ft and so to get used to the altitude and the rhythms of glacier travel we carried food and equipment for a little more than two hours, cached it and walked another hour back downhill.  We were in camp again by 9 PM which left plenty of strong sunshine hours for dinner and prepping for bed. 
It sure took us a while to get to the mountain, but now we are all pretty excited to have arrived. 
Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Arriving Vinson Massif.  Photo: Jake Norton/ First Ascent Unloading gear at Vinson Basecamp.  Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

1

Hola equipo:

Les deseamos mucha suerte en su ascenso.
Juan, amor. Recuerda siempre que te amamos y estamos siempre contigo. Estamos muy orgullosos de ti y te extrañamos muchísimo.read more

Posted by: Eva Glenn on 12/3/2013 at 6:46 pm


Vinson Massif Expedition:  Almost, not quite

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 01, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif

A whole lot of airplanes got flown around Union Glacier today, but not ours.  At first, the day looked like another storm day with low cloud and poor contrast, but by mid-morning, things began to shape up.  About fifty mountains appeared from the mists and the sun came out to stay.  Word was that clouds were persisting at Vinson Base, however.  So we got out our ropes and toys and began reviewing crevasse rescue strategies.  Meanwhile the planes began flying other folks to and fro around Antarctica.  Camp emptied out as the weather got more and more pleasant.  We trained, we ate, we waited.  It wasn’t until after dinner that conditions at Vinson improved enough for a try with the ski-equipped Twin Otter.  But that plane was designated for others and ours was to be a second lap by the same plane… if time allowed.  But it didn’t allow.  By the time the plane finally went, it was known that the pilots would reach the end of their “duty day” before a second lap.  Ours will have to be tomorrow after breakfast… fresh pilots, fresh weather, fresh hope. 
Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

1

So close yet so far away :( The good news is Ohio State beat Michigan (barely) and they are advancing to the National Championship! Yesterday, the Browns lost (no surprise).… read more

Posted by: Dixie Trunko on 12/2/2013 at 5:18 am


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