Back at Vinson Basecamp
We bailed out of high camp this morning without too much difficulty. It stayed calm and wasn’t even all that cold as we got up, but then snow clouds formed up and blotted out the sun and we felt the true temperatures. We got moving downward at 11:15 AM. The fixed-rope section was strenuous with our heavy packs but conditions were good and so we made fine progress. We were on the last hill overlooking basecamp at 4 PM when we saw and heard a Twin Otter flying out of VBC. This was a good thing, but it was also a little surprising as there was a good deal of cloud and fog hanging around the lower glacier. When we marched in to camp, it was great to see John and the other climbers again. We were told that the Twin Otter crew was intent on flying out to Vinson two more times in the evening and that we were slated for the second of those flights… But as that would be four or five hours off in good conditions -and conditions were deteriorating, we simply built camp again (we are getting fast) and had a pleasant dinner. Sure enough, it socked in and there were no more flights, but we didn’t mind much. We are happy to be down safe and happy that the biggest part of our hard work is finished. We’ll see what tomorrow brings but now things are largely out of our control.
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