Vinson Massif: Team Almost Summits But There’s Still Time

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Seth Waterfall | December 12, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 12,400'

Hard day of mountain climbing.  We got up at five minutes to six this morning, excited that the sun was shining and the wind wasn’t blowing.  As we ate breakfast, we could see cloud moving in from the Northeast, but our hope was that we could climb before anything serious moved in.  We set out from high camp at 8:15 and made good and steady progress.  It was a tough day to dress for as everyone continually cycled from too hot to too cold and rarely spent any time being just right.  We watched cloud caps forming and dissipating on the peaks as we gained altitude, but eventually the clouds just kept building on Vinson.  We’d reached 15,340’  with 700’ to go… roughly two more hours to the top.  But we couldn’t do it.  The winds had picked up and snow was flying and people were tired, so it was a lousy combination for tackling the exposed summit ridge in cold conditions.  Down we went and into a cold headwind.  As expected, life was a lot easier when we got out from under the cloud cap, and by the time we’d reached high camp we were back in blue skies and sunshine.  Hard to come so close and come away without the summit… But we’ll keep trying.  We have more food, more fuel, more muscles and more ambition.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

The views from Vinson High Camp. Photo: Peter Whittaker Collection The mountains surrounding Vinson High Camp. Photo: Peter Whittaker Collection

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Sterling, Tough Luck! But then that’s what all that training was about. You could probably do this a few more times. Hopefully the second try will be successful.
Good Luck!

Posted by: Dave & Shirley on 12/13/2012 at 3:21 pm

Hi, Jules!
Good luck on summit bid #2 and Seven Summits #7! You rock!

Posted by: Lily Lo on 12/13/2012 at 3:00 pm

As we say in KY, “bless your hearts”.  I’m keeping the faith you will make it before the week is up. Stay warm and safe.

Posted by: Caroline on 12/13/2012 at 2:20 pm

Big Bruce-Almost there -looks real cold -S&H people asking how you are doing i wiill report at the Summit.
Good Lusk

Ed Gramm

Posted by: ed gramm on 12/13/2012 at 12:23 pm

Dr Choo - a lot of kids back in east Tennessee are watching your progress and cheering you on!

Posted by: Dream Connection - SQ on 12/13/2012 at 10:42 am

Hello Julie from MN,
You and the team are so close to the summit! Blessings to y’all.

Posted by: Barbara Bauer on 12/13/2012 at 9:56 am

Good luck on a second attempt. Mountain weather show diminishing winds next couple of days.  Hope that is true. Love, Sue

Posted by: Sue on 12/13/2012 at 9:47 am

James and Team-

Sounds like an exciting and frustrating day but also a great experience.  Wish I was there.  Have a good meal and get some rest.  I hope the weather cooperates for you tomorrow.

-Larry Seaton

Posted by: Larry Seaton on 12/13/2012 at 8:18 am

Go James…, what an adventure! Praying for better weather conditions on Vinson for the whole team to reach the summit safely. Be well hydrated and stay warm. Very excited with a hope to see you and the team standing at the summit!

Posted by: soonja Choo on 12/13/2012 at 7:26 am

Gina, Toda tu Familia esta con tigo, te queremos Campeona, eres nuestro orgullo, sin importar el resultado, este es tu sueño y solo tuyo, nadie te lo puede quitar.

Posted by: Graciela Carmona Soto on 12/13/2012 at 7:02 am

James…Still Godspeeding you from flatlands of IN…Also added Weather Prayer…Go James Go…+ Team…Waltero

Posted by: Waltero Glover on 12/13/2012 at 5:38 am

Choo: We’re thinking about you! Hope you and your team stay safe. I’m sure you’re excited to be close to the summit. Stay warm and hurry back so we don’t have to do MC all day on Friday!! We have a date at Dean’s to celebrate. Can’t wait to see all your pictures! Kendra and Susan

Posted by: Kendra and Susan on 12/13/2012 at 5:34 am


I want to commend you on your leadership and judgement.  This is a concrete example of why you and RMI have such a well deserved reputation as “a world-class guide and service”.  It is very inspiration to see how you and the team are being so reasonable, staying focused, and being so upbeat in such harsh conditions.  Thank you for keeping our loved ones and friends so safe and pumped-up! 

Fred K

Posted by: Fred Klingbeil on 12/13/2012 at 3:50 am

James, Safety is the most important aspect of all things. It seems that everyone is o.k. Be strong and better chance to reach the summit will be on your way.Best wishes for you and your team. Dad

Posted by: Byoung Choo on 12/13/2012 at 1:25 am

Tomorrow is another day, DG. We are all thinking about you and hoping that you guys get another shot at the summit soon!

Love ya!

Posted by: Stephanie on 12/12/2012 at 9:33 pm

HW: It must have been disappointing to turn back when you are 700’ away. You didn’t think it was going to be that easy, right? I’m glad you guys made the wise decision to turn back so you can try again. We are all doing great at home, so nothing to worry about and please take your time. I hope you can hear us cheering you on. Please stay safe and focused. I wish you and the team good weather and successful summit in the coming days! Have a good night sleep. Love - Fan

Posted by: Fan on 12/12/2012 at 8:10 pm

Gina, hola Campeona, si mañana hay otro intento y tu puedes si las fuerzas te alcanzan, no importa que piensen los de el equipo, si estan enojados o no es tu desicion,si crees que es posible inténtalo,pero solo si crees que es seguro, es tu sueño y has luchado mucho por esto nadie te lo puede quitar. te queremos.

Posted by: Graciela Carmona Soto on 12/12/2012 at 8:03 pm

So exciting to track your progress.  Go Chooy!  We wish you and your team the best!

Posted by: Collin Bruner on 12/12/2012 at 7:53 pm

You all will get it the second time around! Keep persevering and hope for blue skies on the summit! Good luck to the whole team!

Posted by: Michael Freedman on 12/12/2012 at 7:49 pm

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