Vinson:  First Ascents Continue

Posted by: | January 23, 2011
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 7,200'

What do you do in Antarctica when you want to kill time? you eat, sleep, read, play games, write in your journal and…. do first ascents. Not a bad program, isn’t it?

After a great breakfast of french toasts and beautiful lunch, I headed out with Nick, Victor’s client, to do one more line on the north face of Mount Russman. It takes about 30mins down the now well travelled ski track to the base of the face. There, we trade skis for crampons and poles for ice aces. Victor followed behind with the Union Glacier camp head chef, Gavin.

Today’s line was a mix of steep snow and steeper ice with wild mushroom formations stacked on top of each other. The climbing was smooth and we moved quickly through this untouched terrain. As we neared the top, huge cornices were towering overhead and the terrain was steeper than what it had seemed like from the bottom. We topped out 2hours after leaving our skis. We radioed in to camp to notify them of our success on the route and to let them know that we were headed straight back to camp. It’s requirement and we need to communicate with camp on a regular basis while out in the field.

This was Gavin’s first first ascent, just like it had been for Richard Parks a few days ago. So, he got to name the route. He offered a few names, but the one that stuck with “Route du Jour”. It was a perfect fit for a chef and also because this is realy what it is like: we wake up in the morning and wonder which route is going to get plummed that day, much like a chef decides on what menu he is going to prepare.

We just got news that we are likely not flying tomorrow night. So, there might be more “Route du Jour” to come!

Caroline George on another gully system on Mount Rossman, Route du Jour. The right side of Mount Rossman, showing many routes, including today's

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