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Entries By dave hahn


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Have a Sedentary Day at Camp

Today was perfect from start to finish.  Perfect for resting and catching up on our acclimatization and hydration.  It was another cloudless and windless day, at Low Camp -that is- our radio check-in with basecamp revealed that they were in fog down below.  But we had fine weather and a forecast for more of the same.  We had a leisurely breakfast followed by prolonged snacking and napping.  The troops were instructed to down a few liters each of water as their primary chore for the day.  After a couple of longer, tougher days, this was a welcome change and we hope the rest sets us up well for the move to higher altitude tomorrow. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Carry Loads to Top of Ropes

As expected, when the sun went behind the mountain at Low Camp last night around 3 AM, the temperature took a dive.,.  probably down around zero F.  It made it past the mountain again at 10:30 this morning, making it just about ten times easier to get out of our sleeping bags and unzip the tents to begin the day.  We went for a carry up the fixed lines to 11,500 ft today.  Shifting gears a bit, yesterday it was dragging sleds and using ski poles, today it was crampons and ice axes and no sleds.  We got going at about 1:40 and hit the top of the ropes at 7PM.  It was a fine day for climbing with nothing but blue skies and calm and still conditions, which made it a little easier to concentrate on good techniques for climbing continuously steep snow.  We carried food and supplies for our summit push and cached at the top of the lines, basically at the beginning of the long, tilted summit plateau.  Descent back to Low Camp took us two hours.  It was nice, after the last few days, to come into an existing camp.  It didn’t take too long to get dinner and a bunch of water for drinking.  We’ll rest tomorrow, which also makes it easier to relax tonight. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Thanks Dave for the everyday updates, reading what all you guys doing in that amazing place inspired me to do one trip with you in the future, Sue enjoy every minute there and if can take lots of pictures.
Good luck to all and be safe.

Posted by: Sandra E Sanchez on 12/5/2017 at 5:23 pm

Best wishes to the entire group.  Thanks for this blog so we can follow the groups progess and keep some peace knowing Sue is in good hands.

Posted by: Rosalee Lustig on 12/5/2017 at 12:56 pm


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Carry to Low Camp

It was nice to wake up at Vinson Basecamp.  We started the stoves at 8:30 AM when it was nice and sunny, but still a little chilly with cold air flowing gently down the glacier.  The consensus was for moving lock-stock-and-barrel up to Low Camp but we had a fair bit of organizing and packing to do first.  We took a break from it all for a time and went to sit with ALE’s basecamp manager, Darren, while he briefed us on current route conditions, communication schedules, etc.  At 2:20 we were ready to roll and went slowly out of basecamp, roped together, carrying heavy packs and dragging heavy sleds.  It was a beautiful day, but we were a little surprised when a layer of cloud formed up.  That ended up being a good thing though as without it we’d have baked in the sunshine.  The terrain wasn’t so complicated or difficult for the most part but the couple of hills we had to chug up got everybody’s attention.  Crevasses were lurking, but we had good route conditions and no dicey bridges to cross.  We pulled into 9,200 ft at 8:20 PM as expected, and set to work getting situated at Low Camp. The cloud cover was kind enough right then to go away, giving us nice warm sunshine and big views of Shinn and Epperly, the next spectacular peaks to Vinson’s north.  And with full visibility we could crank our necks to see Vinson’s giant western rock escarpment towering about a vertical mile above us.  We ate a late supper and headed to bed, still in strong sunshine… we should get it until about 3 AM here.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

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Dave, Thanks for each descriptive blog and for the summit route map. We are following along on Google Earth. We were surprised to see out to the right of base camp on Google Earth…ski tracks. Hoping you have a beautiful day tomorrow! Say hi to Steve from the Butterfield Bunch.

Posted by: Vickie Butterfield on 12/4/2017 at 9:41 pm

Help me understand why they do cross directly from first blue marker to path to red marker.  I don’t have a map or able to tell what obstruction is in your way.  So from uneducated view it looks like you took a longer route.  Please this is not a critic of effort just would like to know.

Posted by: keith on 12/4/2017 at 12:11 pm


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Arrive At Vinson Base Camp

Good things come to those who wait.  We got out of good old Union Glacier Camp at about a quarter to five this afternoon.  The weather was beautiful at Union and clearing at Vinson for much of the day. Our Twin Otter flight through the Ellsworth Mountains was an absolute delight.  For forty five minutes we cruised through jagged crags and over gigantic glaciers.  Ice and/or mountains stretched to every horizon.  The mountains got progressively higher as we approached Vinson and at 5:30 we touched down ever so gently at basecamp on the Branscomb Glacier.  We were busy enough then, unloading gear and building a camp, but we stopped every few minutes to stare in wide-eyed wonder at our surroundings.  The western escarpment of Vinson rises a dramatic 2000 meters just a few miles away, And down below our 7000 ft home, the Branscomb pours into the larger-still Nimitz Glacier.  With our sleeping tents up and secure, we dug a deluxe living room in the snow and topped it with a cook tent.  We sparked up our stoves and then sat down for a late but great meal… not quite as great as the fine food served up at Union all of this last week, but it is possible we enjoyed it more for finally being in the right place after such a long journey.  It is now 1AM, the sun is shining brilliantly -although it will dip behind the mountain in another hour and introduce us to real cold in a hurry.  We’ll figure tomorrow’s plan, carrying or moving, when we s7ee how the night treats everybody. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

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YES!.. Today was the day! We are all thrilled that you are finally at base camp. Rather you just carry tomorrow or move, may you all be healthy, strong, and safe. Summit of Vinson, here they come.. Yeah!! Vickie

Posted by: Vickie Butterfield on 12/2/2017 at 10:04 pm


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Another Day at Union Glacier Camp

There was some reason for optimism today.  Even though we woke to the same old clouds with light snowfall, the forecasters called for clearing… which is what we got.  But that took a good chunk of the day, and ultimately the weather turned out to be not up to snuff at the other end.  So we saw sun and felt a little warmth and finally got a great view of the jagged mountains all around us, but Vinson Basecamp ended up in fog.  That is a dealbreaker when you aim to fly over in a Twin Otter on skis in order to land uphill on a valley glacier at 7,000 feet. 
We passed the day playing games and reading, some attended a history lecture dealing with the 1897 Belgian Expedition -the members of that trip had a few significant weather delays as well.  We each went outside from time to time in order to stretch, walk and ride bikes around camp.  Dinner was still quite pleasant, even as we had to give up on this particular day for starting our climb. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Steve, Let today be the DAY!! Can you hear us on the other side of the world, cheering in a bright, beautiful, sunny day at the Vinson Massif Base camp? We are! Love Vickie

Posted by: Vickie Butterfield on 12/2/2017 at 9:21 am

Hang in there Sue and team. The weather will soon smile on you!

Posted by: Norm Symonds on 12/2/2017 at 5:35 am


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team’s Snow Day

Not so much change today.  Clouds and murk.  We still got up and came to breakfast smiling.  We engaged in a vicious scrabble showdown, spewing two-letter-words and bingos.  After lunch we marched out into the falling snow and slight breeze.  We cruised the now-familiar 10k loop, on foot.  It took about two hours with the new snow a little squishy -like beach sand- underfoot.  Despite the cool conditions we each warmed up pretty thoroughly.  There was still time for resting and mingling with the other inmates before dinner.  Afterward, we played a few more games and talked a bit more about the weather.  Some went to see a movie about overwintering on the Antarctic continent.  Most folks are optimistic that we’ll get a break from winter tomorrow. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Thinking about you Sue, and all your fellow climbers!  Sending best wishes and prayers for the weather to break, so your adventure continues!  So proud of all!  WOW!!  You are in ANTARTICA!!  I am thrilled to say I know someone climbing in Antartica!! Stay warm, enjoy your games… and the peacefulness that surrounds you!  WOW! We can’t wait to hear all about your adventures!
Big hug and love… your Alaskan buddies…Patty and Sally

Posted by: Sally on 12/1/2017 at 10:25 am

I was feeling a little sorry for all of you being stuck at Union Glacier until I heard you had a Scrabble game there.  Who knew???  Did anybody play quixotic for a triple triple with bingo?  You better pack the Scrabble game for when you get weathered in at base camp after you summit.  By the time you get this we’re thinking you will be on your way to Vinson.  Keep smiling and climb strong!
Mom and Pop

Posted by: Les Zimmerman on 12/1/2017 at 5:38 am


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Continue Training and Waiting

Not much change for us today… clouds and murk, no flying.  But we are holding up just fine, in any case.  We passed the morning demonstrating crevasse rescue techniques -without the crevasses.  Then, just to get the blood flowing, we hiked out to “the Christmas tree” a plywood and fabric landmark 2.5 kilometers down the snow road in the direction of the ice runway.  Although technically still on standby for flying to Vinson, we mostly just kicked back and relaxed in the afternoon as snow clouds encroached and visibility diminished.  The evening program consisted of a slideshow by David Hamilton -one of ALE’s guides- detailing his ski traverse of the Austrian Alps.  Forecasts call for an end to this storm… some day soon.  We’ll be ready. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Love you Daddio (Steve)! I so wish I was with you! Enjoy the adventure; I know you will~xo, Michelle

Posted by: Michelle Butterfield on 11/30/2017 at 6:19 pm

Praying for a good weather until that opportunity enjoy the beauty and solitude .
Have a great days Sue!!!!

Posted by: Sandra E on 11/30/2017 at 12:51 pm


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Remain in Union Glacier Waiting for Better Weather

Different day… but same old weather.  Our team went to bed last night inspired by a film shown in the dining tent.  Austrian extreme skiers in camp played their award winning film on a pioneering adventure to the mountains of Siberia.  The night was calm, but cloudy again… as was the morning.  Chances for flying never seemed to increase as the day proceeded, so we concerned ourselves instead with reviewing our rope rescue techniques and checking out our avalanche beacons.  In the flat light after lunch we borrowed fat-tired bikes and rode the 10k loop in order to get heart-rates up and leg muscles pumped.  In late afternoon we simply rested and read books, biding our time -along with the forty or fifty other folks that were on our Ilyushin flight from Punta.  This isn’t exactly a new phenomenon when it comes to mountaineering in Antarctica, so we are just rolling with it, relaxing and enjoying the hospitality and comforts of Union Glacier Camp.  Weather sounds a little worse out at the Vinson end of things. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Explore Union Glacier

No flying today, as it turned out.  Clouds and snow prevailed.  But as far as storms go, this one hasn’t been particularly unpleasant.  The wind didn’t blow hard enough to rattle our tents overnight and with all of the cloud cover, temperatures were moderate and reasonable -probably somewhere in the teens.  After breakfast, we got out our harnesses and carabiners and reviewed a few basics before roping up and marching through camp a few times.  In the afternoon we set out on a mission to walk a 10 kilometer groomed circuit out in mid-Glacier.  Just a day or two before we got in, this circuit hosted 50+ runners competing in the Antarctic Marathon.  Inspired by these athletes, my team went the extra mile today, or perhaps four, as their guide struggled to stay on course.  Conditions deteriorated with snow falling steadily and for several hours we trudged on without benefit of horizon or contrast.  All allowed that it was good to be out and to be stretching legs.  We were back just before dinner and felt just a bit more entitled to extra helpings and deluxe desserts than we might have without the suffering and privations of the brutal 10K track.  After dinner, the briefings went as expected… conditions still did not allow for flights to Vinson... bad weather may continue for several days.  Visual Flight Rules prevail in these parts… smart people don’t mix twin otters, mountains and murk if they can avoid it.  But as it turns out, there is more training for us to do at Union Glacier in relative comfort and safety. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Land in Antarctica

Greetings from Antarctica.  Sure enough, we got the call during breakfast to be ready for flying.  It wasn’t a “hurry up and wait” morning though, more a “slow down and wait” type of deal.  We got picked up from the hotel before 9 AM but it wasn’t until about 11:35 AM that we lifted off from Punta Arenas.  The weather picture was fairly complicated today and it took some strategic thinking to figure just when it was appropriate to commit to a flight.  Four and a half hours in the cargo bay of a four-engine Russian jet was made endurable by comfy airline seats and “Pretty Woman” playing on the big screen -with subtitles- (the IL76 is a noisy ride).  The captain brought us through somewhat murky conditions to a perfect landing on the blue ice runway of Union Glacier.  It was cold, windy, cloudy and a little raw with blowing snow.  A perfect Antarctic day, actually, but we didn’t spend much time taking pictures down at the runway.  A souped-up van with big tires took us on an ice road over to Union Glacier Camp where we were warmly welcomed and given a briefing and tour.  After a great bowl of soup and an excellent dinner, we ventured out to build our tents.  No flights to Vinson tonight, due to the sloppy weather.  Nonetheless, it was a very pleasant evening of chatting with other climbers and adventurers from a dozen different countries and of catching up with acquaintances from mountains far and wide.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

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