Vinson Massif:  A Quick Descent

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Seth Waterfall | December 15, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 7,200'

There was a wind blowing in the night at high camp.  It was just a few miles per hour, but it was steady and we’d been exceedingly lucky in not having any wind for four days up high, so it was a worry.  But a needless worry, since by morning it was gone.  We ate, we packed and by ten in the morning we were walking downhill with great big packs.  Everybody was thinking about getting those big packs down the steep fixed ropes… the last real obstacle to our safety, but we caught those ropes and slopes in perfect condition.  They were still in shadow and the tracks of teams that had descended several days earlier were still in perfect condition and useful as stairs.  We made it to our old digs at low camp in just a few hours, packed and repacked there and then plodded down the Branscomb Glacier toward Basecamp.  Cresting the final hill, we saw two Twin Otter airplanes sitting patiently and waiting to take us away.  This was a pleasant surprise as we hadn’t really discussed an exit strategy yet with ALE, our logistics company.  At Basecamp by four in the afternoon, we shuffled duffels and boarded the planes.  Some of us were treated to a magnificent scenic flight as the pilot performed a mountain reconnaissance for future climbs on our way back to Union Glacier.  The Twin spiraled around one Matterhorn after another and dove through tight v-shaped passes.  A smooth landing at Union got us in just in time for dinner.  A wonderful dinner, whilst sitting in chairs, with backs.  True luxury.  We caught up with fellow climbers from the mountain (who we hadn’t seen for days) and with the wonderful staff at ALE.  Life is considerably warmer and easier at Union Glacier, and the team is excited about being a step closer to home, but we’re all still buzzing over the mountain that we lived on for the last nine days.  And climbed.
Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

A beautiful site - Twin Otters landing at Vinson Base Camp.

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HW: Great to know you are be step closer to home. Hope you will be ale to fly to Punta Arenas soon. We had a lot of fun at the birthday party. Love, -Fan

Posted by: Fan on 12/16/2012 at 6:22 pm

Sterling, The plane ride sounded like it might have been another highlight of this trip. We hope to see you New Years Day. Have a great trip home.

Posted by: Dave & Shirley on 12/16/2012 at 10:43 am

I am headed southwest tomorrow morning but will catch up with you around New Years Eve in the mountains of NC.  Take care during the remainder of your trip.
Love you

Posted by: Caroline on 12/16/2012 at 7:27 am

Great to hear your voice last night! Looking forward to our reunion in a few days!

Oz and Steph

Posted by: Stephanie on 12/16/2012 at 7:03 am

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