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Entries from Expedition Dispatches


VINSON MASSIF: 100% SUMMIT!

Not much wind at high camp this morning, but a heck of a lot of cloud when we checked it at 7 AM.  Seemed like this was to be our opportunity though.  We breakfasted in fog and light snow and got ready to climb.  Nothing had changed by the time we got roped up at 9:45.  We set off into the murk.  Not a great day for pictures… but walking in a whiteout means there are few distractions.  We took a quick rest break every hour or so and went steadily higher and colder.  Light winds came up with face freezing potential as we neared the top, but almost miraculously, we lost all wind and even got a touch of sun as we went out the summit ridge.  We hit the tippy top at 5:30 and liked it so much we spent 30 minutes up there.  It took us three hours and ten minutes, mostly in cloud, to get back to high camp.  Thankfully, there we got some late night sunshine to enjoy dinner by.  The team is tired, but as you can imagine, we’re also pretty happy right now as we drift off to bed. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

[Transcription of audio call from the summit]
Hey, this is the RMI 2016 Mt. Vinson Climb, We are on the summit of Mount Vinson, all of us! 100%, a team of 5 right up here on top! We climb through clouds all day, but here on the top we are looking up looking up at blue sky. It is calm on top. This team is done a great job. We’ll let you know we get back to high Camp and everything is good, and that’s what we expect because everybody is climbing strong.

That’s all for now, high from the top of Antarctica.


Dave Hahn Calling from the Summit of Mount Vinson.

On The Map

Congratulations to Mt. Vinson Team!!
Charlotte

Posted by: Charlotte Williams on 12/8/2016 at 1:16 pm

Bravo!!! Well done!!! Safe journeys home!!!

Posted by: JP on 12/8/2016 at 3:18 am


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Move to High Camp

Finally in position.  We moved up to Vinson high camp today (12,300 ft).   It was calm at Low Camp this morning when we climbed out of our tents, but it really didn’t look that great up high -from our vantage point.  There were still big wind sculpted clouds attached to the high summits.  Our radio conversations with friends at high camp told a different story… they said it was calm and warm at high camp and folks were headed for the top.  We geared up… dragging our feet just a bit in case the weather turned obviously bad.  But it didn’t.  We left our longtime home at low camp (9,200 ft) at 1:40 and cruised up in about six hours.  Fog overtook the team about half way up the ropes though, and stuck with us to high camp, so we didn’t have any views.   We reached camp about when the summit teams were getting back.  They’d been above the clouds on the top.  With all of our team feeling good and strong, it didn’t take much time to build our camp, eat dinner and get to bed.  We ‘ve got a big day coming up tomorrow.  Perhaps we’ll get some views along the way. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Post Storm

The wind finally quit this morning, about 20 minutes before the sun hit to start a much better day.  It still wasn’t a climbing day for us though.   There were still winds blowing snow off the ridge we needed to crest.  They were dying down, but not quickly enough for my tastes.  We dug out and dried out down at Vinson’s Low Camp… Licking our wounds, so to speak, after the epic storm.  The team up at high camp seemed to have survived the blow and similarly, dug out and rested today.  The teams with us at low camp went for a late afternoon start on moving up,  We’ll give it a shot tomorrow.  Finally with a couple of days of semi stable forecast in our favor.  After several days of a constant roar it is great to be back to profound silence… the kind that stretches to the horizons. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

I’ve been praying for good weather for you. Good luck!
Yuki

Posted by: Yukiko Loritz on 12/6/2016 at 8:57 am


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team - Storm Day

Let’s get the exaggerations out of the way at the start… Winds today at Low Camp were between 70 and 80 mph.  Except those figures are probably right, judging by how many times the gusts demolished the snow walls protecting our tents.  Those walls were made of blocks we could barely lift.  The storm is well and truly upon us… And upon everyone else too for that matter.  There wasn’t any moving from camp to camp today -or carrying of loads.  It was hunker down and hang on day.  The storm didn’t let much sun through to warm us either, so life was grim.  Conversation in the tents was tough to accomplish with the tent walls snapping like machine guns in your ear.  Walking outside the tents was bound to include getting knocked to the ice a few times.  But we are still hanging in, here at Low Camp, waiting to catch a break.  The views we did have today were quite dramatic, with giant wind sculpted clouds diving off the high peaks.  We can’t quite say yet that we’ve been through a full on Antarctic storm yet, because it ain’t over.  Soon though. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map


Vinson Massif: Yesterday Was a Blessing in Disguise

When the late morning sun hit Low Camp, we looked up and saw that we didn’t actually want to be up high today.  The forecaster got it right and a storm was easing onto the Vinson Massif.  It wasn’t too bad at first, but we knew that one of the teams we’d been climbing alongside of had been forced to turn back from a summit attempt.  Our day down low was spent in getting ready for a blow.  The gang built strong snow walls and dug in.  The storm hit Low Camp with surprising intensity around six in the evening.  Winds got up to thirty and forty miles an hour and have stayed there (with higher gusts) for hours -it is midnight now.  We’re tucked in now and listening to the roar.  We are hoping our high camp friends are behind big fat snow and ice walls.  We are happier to be down here for this event.  Yesterday’s mishap now seems like a blessing in disguise. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Yes, that was a blessing. I hope the other team is well. Good luck when you attempt to summit next!
Yuki

Posted by: Yukiko Loritz on 12/4/2016 at 1:55 pm


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Go Up But Then Down Again

Hard day of climbing today for our team.  The day began (at eleven AM) with great weather but some uncertainty anyway.  The forecast was calling for marginal weather again a couple of days out and so teams were struggling to decide whether to commit to the ascent.  We committed and left Low Camp at 3:40 PM.  The previous carry up the fixed ropes, plus a day of rest in between, both seemed to have done the trick.  We were moving well and the day was staying good.  We reached our previous high point (about 11,200) and then suffered a mishap.  We dropped an essential piece of gear down the hill.  The loaded backpack cruised on down our of sight.  There was no choice but to descend, retrieve the gear, regroup and recoup at Low Camp.  We’ve now accomplished a good chunk of that.  We are thankful that nobody was hurt, that we’ve still got our gear and that we’ve got the resources and fortitude to try again when conditions allow. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Hanging at Low Camp

Today was our much deserved rest day, but we’d have been hanging here at 9200 ft even if we weren’t deserving.  It was a storm day on Vinson.  Not so bad where we are, but pretty obviously bad up above.  The upside of having all of the cloud cover was that temperatures were moderate this morning.  We had our traditional noon breakfast followed by naps, books, daydreaming, water drinking and snow block stacking.   The forecasts aren’t so positive for the next few days, so fortifying our tents is in order.  Otherwise, we’re staying positive and enjoying a typical day at altitude in the interior of Antarctica. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Damn, I wish I was there again.  It’s such a special place.  Like being on another planet.  Speaking of other planets, or moons, did you guys hear that Buzz Aldrin was down there with you?  Had to have a medical evac from the South Pole.

Posted by: Larry Seaton on 12/1/2016 at 10:16 pm


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Carry Up the Ropes

It was a sunny day, but the sun took its sweet time getting to us.  It was about 10:30 before it made its way around the mountain to give us a little heat.  We stayed patiently in our sleeping bags until then because it was mighty cold in the shadows. There was a little wind jetting off the ridge that High Camp sits on, and as we ate our brunch, that wind seemed to be swirling a little onto the fixed ropes.  We set out on a carry at 1:50 while keeping an eye out for changing weather.  It was nice to be going out with an ice axe in hand and crampons underfoot -like climbing again- after a couple of days of “snow slogging”.  We spent a few minutes reviewing techniques for steep climbing before hopping on the fixed ropes.  It was a hard couple of hours pushing up the firm and continuously steep snow.  Luckily the wind held off on the main part of the climb, but it was obviously still gusting hard at the top of the lines. So we quit a little before the top -at perhaps 11,200 ft-  and cached food and supplies.  Then it was down the ropes and back into Low Camp by 8 PM. 
A filling and hot dinner and it was time for bed.  Rest day is in order for tomorrow. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map


Vinson Massif: High Times at Low Camp

It was another calm, sunny day on Mount Vinson.  We took full advantage, moving from Basecamp at 7000 ft to Low Camp at 9200 ft.  We managed it in just over five hours, which is plenty good for being about 6.5 miles.  Better still when you consider that we picked up extra weight at the halfway point (our cache from yesterday).  The route up the Branscomb seems to be in “normal” snowcover conditions.  Most of the yearly accumulation out here occurs below where we are now.   Snow accumulation is generally a good thing -it bridges the crevasses.  So our route today was pretty straightforward in terms of crevasse hazards… which is fine by me.   One could be tempted to think that in a land of massive glaciers,  that of course it must snow a lot.  But Antarctica is the highest and driest continent on earth.  Right at the moment, we’re liking the dry.  This camp gets the sun until quite late -around 3AM.  The air is cold, maybe -15 F, but inside a tent in the sun, life is good. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Sorry the whole team has to read this, but, Keith, the alarm keypad is beeping continuously. Is there a way to turn it off? Pushing “Cancel” does nothing.
Yuki

Posted by: Yukiko Loritz on 11/30/2016 at 6:19 am


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Carry to Half Camp

Today was half preparation (which we’ve been doing a lot of lately) and then finally…. Walking uphill.  We took a “shakedown cruise”.  Roping up and then carrying a load about half the distance to Low Camp.  It was a perfect day, in terms of weather.  Clear, calm conditions with bright and strong sunshine.  Great for getting started.  We only went a couple of hours uphill on the broad Branscomb Glacier, but as usual, the view got better and better as we went.  Eventually we were getting to see the surrounding spires and cathedrals of the Sentinel Range.  Mount Shinn, Mounts Epperly and Gardner.  And we couldn’t miss the vertical mile of Vinson’s West Face getting gigantic in front of us.  Our goals achieved at “half camp”, we cached the gear and supplies and rolled on down to Vinson Base.  This evening was a little easier than last night, not so hectic since the camp was already built.  We’re hoping everybody gets a full rest tonight, as tomorrow could be another good climbing day. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

The photo is beautiful! Good luck on tomorrow’s climb!
Charlotte

Posted by: Charlotte Williams on 11/29/2016 at 5:16 pm

The view of the mountain is gorgeous! Glad to read the weather is good. Hope it continues. Good luck!
Yuki

Posted by: Yukiko Loritz on 11/29/2016 at 9:08 am

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