Entries From Vinson 12-1-13

Vinson Massif:  Team #2 Arrives Punta Arenas

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Jeff Martin | December 02, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif

Our second RMI Vinson Expedition is officially underway! The team all arrived this afternoon in Punta Arenas. Despite the long miles travelled in crowded planes, immigration lines, and the scrutiny of the custom’s agents, everyone made it with their luggage.
After a quick check-in at our hotel, we immediately headed off to dinner at the very popular La Marmita, where we dined on some of the best fresh and local food around. The restaurant was packed as usual, but we got right in and had a great meal.
It’s almost 11:00 pm now, and still light outside. The weather has been cold, rainy and windy in town the last few days, but that won’t really affect our plans as we will be spending the majority of time finalizing our preparations for our flight to Union Glacier. But now we have to do is relax and focus on getting a good night’s sleep.
We’ll check in tomorrow with our next update.
Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

The RMI Team gathers in Punta Arenas.  Photo: Jeff Martin
3

Larry Seaton - stay safe and try to stay warm.  Happy Climbing. Mom

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Posted by: Gerri Seaton on 12/4/2013 at 11:00 am

Bill and Sara! You look great after that long trip! More fun to come. Will be following you. Love, Mom/Grandma

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Posted by: Ann English on 12/3/2013 at 5:20 pm


Vinson Massif: Team 2 Spends the Day Checking Gear & Sightseeing

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Jeff Martin | December 03, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif

Greetings from Punta Arenas,

This was our first full day in this southern port city and we made the most of it. After a nice breakfast we jumped right into the task at hand - final gear preparations for our flight to Antarctica. Packing for an expedition to the coldest and most remote place on earth takes a little more planning and effort than a weekend getaway. So we spread out all of our gear to check to make sure that no item was forgotten and that we resisted the temptation to throw in too many “extras”. Punta Arenas is the last chance we have to buy anything, but luckily the shopping list was pretty short after the equipment check. A few more snack items for some, and we were pretty much ready for our flight.

We had the afternoon to hang out at our hotel and a chance to walk around town a little and take in some of the sights. We ended the day at the La Luna restaurant for dinner. A big thank you to Larry for buying us all dinner and drinks. It was a delicious meal!

We have a pre-flight briefing in the morning and we will check in once we hear about our flight plan.

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

Vinson Team 2 sightseeing in Punta Arenas. Photo: Jeff Martin
1

Good luck to the team on the way down south and I’m hoping you all have great experience on the ice.
love to Fatima,

Peter

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Posted by: Peter Williamson on 12/4/2013 at 2:36 pm


Vinson Massif Expedition: Team #2 Readies for Flight

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Jeff Martin | December 04, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif

Hello,
We had our pre-flight briefing this morning at 10:30 am. There were about 20 climbers from all over the world who met up at the ALE office in Punta Arenas for this very informative presentation about what will be happening over the next day or so. One of ALE’s owners,  Mike Sharp, covered all the details regarding our 4 1/2 hour flight down to Union Glacier. We learned that due to construction on the runway here at Punta Arenas, there is not enough distance on the runway for our plane to take off fully loaded. The solution: take off with only half the fuel needed for the trip and fly a short distance to Ushuaia, Argentina and top off the tanks. And by topping off the tanks, we are talking 40 tons of fuel. It will add a little time to our flight, but there’s no refueling options on the 3800 mile round trip flight to Antarctica.
The plan now stands as us getting picked up at our hotel tomorrow morning at 4:45 am and heading out to the airport. They have already picked up our luggage and it will be loaded on the plane tonight and ready for our early departure.
Remember, it’s only a plan at this point, as there are still a few big unknowns, mainly the weather at Union Glacier. Winds with blowing snow and poor visibility will mean that we will stay put for another day or two. But the forecast is looking favorable and we are ready to fly out whenever we get the green light.
Tonight we ventured off the usual circuit of restaurants and found a local’s hangout. The food was great and we have Bill to thank for picking up the tab this time. Now it’s early to bed because it will be early when we rise.
Hopefully the next dispatch will be from Antarctica!
RMI Guide Jeff Martin


Vinson Massif Expedition:  Team #2 Flies to Union Glacier

Posted by: Jeff Martin | December 05, 2013
Categories:

We had an early wake up call this morning and were down in the hotel lobby by 4:30 am. The word was that the weather was cooperating and the flight would go as scheduled. We loaded up into the bus and headed out. We had a few more climbers to pickup on the way to the airport and then we went into the terminal for the standard boarding process. As we mentioned yesterday, there was going to be a stop en route to Union Glacier to re-fuel. This was the first time that this was done by our outfitter and it went very smoothly, only adding a little more time the flight. The group landed at Union Glacier around 2:00 pm local time. Now they are settled in and are enjoying their first night on the ice.
The plan now is for the team to spend a day or two at Union Glacier and then fly to Vinson Basecamp where they will meet up with Dave Hahn.
We might not get a dispatch out while the team is at Union Glacier, but will definitely dispatch once they start their climb.
Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Carry Halfway

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 11, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 7,200'

We are back to great weather on Vinson.  There was still a little wind apparent up high during the morning, and a few fog banks forming and dissipating down below, but by mid-day one could only describe it as “splitter”.  Perfect blue sky, big bright sun and no wind… splitter.  Team 2 had a fine breakfast at Vinson Base and then we settled into a light training and review session.  Bill, Sara, Fatima and Larry each have fine climbing resumes, so it was only necessary to run through some quick examples of crevasse rescue and anchoring systems to refresh memories.  In the afternoon we went for our shakedown cruise: a carry of food and gear to half camp.  It was great to stretch legs and get some views of the surrounding humongous peaks.  We were back to Base by around 7 PM, in time for dinner in the strong evening sun.  We turned in for bed confident that the sunshine would keep tents warm well into the night.  Sometime after one or two AM the sun will go behind the mountain and life will get cool, but by then we’ll be sleeping… Dreaming of the move to low camp tomorrow.

Word is that the Ilyushin is flying to Union tonight, so Team 1 (Kara, Juan, Piotr, and Spencer) should have breakfast in South America.  Bon Voyage.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

3

Larry and the gang:  Glad to know the weather is cooperating and hope it continues.  What tales you can tell us when you return.  Best wishes to all! Gerri S.

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Posted by: Gerri Seaton on 12/12/2013 at 5:18 pm

Larry and Crew

Great to hear how your expedition is progressing so well!  Hope the weather continues to be good.  Excited to hear how your safely and successful move up… read more

Posted by: Fred Klingbeil on 12/12/2013 at 6:35 am


Vinson Massif Expedition:  Team Moves to Low Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 12, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 9,300'

We busted out of Base Camp today.  Just over five hours of walking up the Branscomb Glacier put us at “low” camp, which isn’t all that low at 9300 ft above sea level. Half way along the route we picked up our cached supplies and equipment from yesterday’s carry.  We were alone for our day of climbing, since the other teams in our rotation have about four days head-start on us.  One of those, a German team, made the top today in a speedy ascent.  They were early enough in the day that they came all the way back down to low camp.  So we have neighbors.  The other two teams are still at high camp hoping to get a shot at the summit tomorrow.  We had great conditions for coming along directly under Vinson’s giant western face, and we had perfect and unobstructed views of Mounts Gardner, Epperly and Shinn.  Camp was built quickly and easily and after a filling dinner, the team retired to bask in the strong, late night sun.  We’ll get that sun until at least three AM, but then, while it is behind the mountain, our teeth will be chattering until 11 AM. 
Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

A climbers on the Branscomb Glacier.  Photo: RMI Collection Low Camp on Mt. Vinson.  Photo:  RMI Collection

On The Map

3

Larry

No one, I mean no one, can keep you down!  See a mountain (that is 16,000 feet or higher) and Larry will be climbing it!!  You are the poster-child… read more

Posted by: Fred Klingbeil on 12/13/2013 at 3:39 pm

It’s chilly in southern California but nothing compared to where you all are.  Keep warm. What an adventure you are having.  Larry, can’t wait to hear all about this trip. … read more

Posted by: Gerri Seaton on 12/13/2013 at 11:16 am


Vinson Massif Expedition: Team Carries Up the Fixed Lines

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 13, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 11,800'

We all agreed that carrying a load of food, fuel and gear 2500 vertical feet up the fixed lines was hard.  It was steep (both going up and coming down) it took a long time (7 hours round trip from low camp) and it was sometimes too hot and sometimes too cold.  It felt a lot like mountain climbing.  Today we had crampons on our feet and axes in our hands, unlike the last couple of sled dragging days on the low angled approach glacier.  So all around, it was pretty tough, but we did it.  We got those unreal Antarctic views as we got higher, spawning questions like “Is that ice way out there or is it cloud?” (It was both).  Our hope, of course, is that by doing such tough work today, by going so high (11,800) and by coming back down to sleep and rest through tomorrow, we’ll be stronger, more familiar with the route and better acclimated to the altitude.  That may be, but at any rate, it sure was fun climbing today.  It was a little cloudy which seemed to hold some heat in the air, making things a bit easier.  The two teams above us apparently made the summit today, which is great, we’ll see them tomorrow on their descent.
Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

RMI Climbers on the fixed lines below Vinson High Camp. Photo: Peter Whittaker Collection

On The Map

2

Congrats to the team after such a heavy effort and I hope you get time enough to rest! Supporting you all the way to the summit!
Love to Fatima,read more

Posted by: Peter Williamson on 12/14/2013 at 7:24 pm

WOW!  Very impessive!!  Great job!!!  Fred K

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Posted by: Fred Klingbeil on 12/14/2013 at 6:22 am


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Rest Day at Low Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 14, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 9,100'

As planned, we took a break from mountain climbing today.  We rested primarily to catch up on hydration and acclimatization before our assault on high camp and the summit.  But since today’s weather was a little on the sloppy side, with clouds at all levels, some falling snow and hints of wind aloft, it wasn’t a bad day to be taking it easy at low camp.  We ate, drank, rested, read, watched TV and listened to music.  The teams that went to Vinson’s summit yesterday came through on their descent to base today.  All seemed well and happy, and of course relieved that they’d gotten to the top before this particular pulse of inclement weather came through.  We will just hope it is gentle and short lived.  We’d like to move up tomorrow.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

1

It sounds like you have a great team and hoping weather will be on your side to make it to the summit. Here we are all singing “they’ll all be… read more

Posted by: debby on 12/15/2013 at 4:24 pm


Vinson Massif: Stormin’ Up High and at Low Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 15, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 9,100'

It was a storm day on Mount Vinson, so we stayed put at low camp.  You might wonder how such a day differs from the rest day we took yesterday… it isn’t very different.  We ate, we slept, we read, we listened to music, we watched TV.  The weather seemed to be improving early in the day, in that wind speeds appeared to be dropping on the peaks and ridges above us.  Our latest forecasts also suggested that we’d be rewarded for waiting as the outlook is for an easing in both wind and cloud for the next few days.  But none of that seemed to do us much good at low camp today.  The sun continually found thick clouds and murk to hide behind and so it was a cold afternoon and evening.  The team didn’t hang out for long in our dining tent after dinner… back to the sleeping bags with fingers crossed for a more useful day tomorrow. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

5

Larry

You are very experienced with “The waiting game”!

Hang in there ... taking full advantage of “resting up” in preparation of successfully “heading up” when it becomes safe and… read more

Posted by: Fred Klingbeil on 12/16/2013 at 10:07 am

Hope the weather clears soon for you. Love that you can “watch TV”. You have more power than we do in the North Georgia mountains when it hits a balmy… read more

Posted by: Mom/Grandma on 12/16/2013 at 8:24 am


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Move to High Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 16, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 9,100'

At low camp, we woke to another thoroughly cloudy day.  But it wasn’t as cold as yesterday and there wasn’t any wind up above that we could detect.  We ate our usual late breakfast and checked in with Vinson Basecamp via the radio to hear the latest forecast (the same folks at Union Glacier who try to find weather windows for the Ilyushin also take a stab at mountain weather predictions).  The forecast was just plain good.  Clouds diminishing, no significant winds.  We packed up low camp and headed for high camp.  It was 2 PM by the time we were roped up and walking toward the fixed lines.  We climbed in a murky world of cloud, between murky layers of other clouds down low and up high.  But we made good and steady progress, reaching high camp at 12,300 ft by 8:30 PM.  We worked to get a camp built and a kitchen going.  At 10 PM we got our first sunshine of the day, which, thankfully kept on beaming down through clearing skies to make dinner and going to bed a lot easier.  Tomorrow could be our big day… Depending, of course on how the weather shapes up and how the climbing team looks at breakfast.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

RMI Climbers approaching High Camp on the Vinson Massif. Photo: Dave Hahn

On The Map

3

Congratulations on making high camp! Fingers crossed that the weather holds for a successful summit! Much love.

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Posted by: Mom/Grandma on 12/17/2013 at 7:31 am

I will pray to the weather Gods for awesome weather for a beautiful summit.  Wishin y’all the best.  Cheers!!!

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Posted by: Mary on 12/17/2013 at 4:25 am


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