Entries By dave hahn

Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Ready To Go

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | December 03, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 12,150'

Our luck with the weather continues.  It was another perfectly calm, blue-sky, sunny day on Mount Vinson.  We took full advantage, moving up from Low Camp to High Camp.  It is plenty of work to break camp and hit the trail in this cold environment.  This “morning” it took us about 2.5 hours.  We were walking by 1:45 PM.  We had the advantage today that we were all familiar with the route and the fixed ropes -thanks to our carry on the same terrain two days ago.  This time we shaved about forty five minutes off, reaching 12,150 ft High Camp in five hours and fifteen minutes.  We set to building camp and digging in, which took a few more hours of hard work, but eventually we were all sitting face to face in a freshly excavated dining room.  We talked over exactly how summit day might work out for tomorrow.  After dinner, the team pitched in to build some snow-block walls, just in case the wind comes up.  Then folks wandered about a hundred feet west to look over the edge.  It is a stunning view, peering over this dramatic and abrupt escarpment to see almost every footstep we’ve made to date.  In the distance, the Nimitz Glacier is prominent and beyond that it seems that we can see forever on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.  The team went to bed ready to go for the top, we’ll see if our weather luck holds.

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Ascending to High Camp on Mount Vinson.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Carry to High Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | December 01, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 9,100'

We knew it was going to be a cold morning here at Low Camp, the sun doesn’t make it around the mountain until 11:15 AM, but it was still somewhat shockingly cold.  True, we are in 24-hour daylight, but any shadow reminds you very quickly what the actual air temperature is.  We ate breakfast and put our crampons on for a day of carrying loads as we warmed up in the sun.  Before too long, we’d begun the fixed rope section of climbing on the way to high camp.  This section of steep and continuously firm snow meant that the day would be about vertical gain and not a great deal about distance covered.  It took six hours to make it the 3,500 ft to high camp, which sits at 12,500 ft.  Since it was perfect, cloudless weather, we could see forever as we got higher.  But what we could see was ice, ice and more ice.  Our timing was perfect, pulling into high camp just as Linden Mallory and his small team were getting there after their summit.  Todd Passey, ALE’s guide, was in camp with his team as well and very generously shared cups of hot water with the gang.  We cached food and fuel there and then got moving back toward Low Camp, which we reached at 11 PM.  It was a big day, finished off with a midnight supper in the POSH tent.  Our climbers were excited for the new vistas, but also for the great sense of accomplishment in getting such a tough day under our belts. We’ll rest tomorrow, and hope to move up the following day. 

Best,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

RMI Climbers approaching High Camp on the Vinson Massif. Photo: Dave Hahn

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Vinson Massif: RMI Guide JJ Justman Reunites with the Team

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | November 30, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 9,100'

Hello RMI!! I have to tell ya…it is so nice to be reunited with the team! No one at Union Glacier camp would let me put my head on their shoulders and cry. However, when my team saw me at Vinson Base Camp they all gave me big bear hugs!

Today we packed up camp and started our climb to Low Camp, close to 10,000 feet. Everyone had a fun day and we worked well getting camp set up. The usual happened with hots and dinner and more hots. Dave is currently buttoning up the kitchen as I write.

Tomorrow the team plans on carrying gear towards high camp. We get to travel some fixed line as the terrain steepens. Stay tuned! AND GO PACKERS!!!

RMI Guide JJ Justman

RMI climbers ascending the Branscomb Glacier. Photo: RMI Collection

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Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Walk with Lakpa

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | November 29, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 7,200'

It was an eventful day, by our standards.  Conditions still were not flyable when we crawled out of the tents at 9:15 (not too much use getting up before that time in this camp as it is pretty cold).  But ALE, our logistical partner, offered one of their guides for the day so that we could accomplish a carry of food and gear to “Low Camp”.  We were excited for the chance to get on the move and for the opportunity to work with Lakpa Gelu.  Lakpa has climbed Mount Everest 15 times and holds the speed record there.  We were honored to rope up on Vinson with him.  We left camp at 2:30 PM hauling a few sleds and carrying full packs.  Snow conditions were perfect, we weren’t sinking in much and the sleds dragged without much resistance.  Despite the persistent cloud parked on the landing strip, a few hundred feet higher up we were walking in bright sunshine with blue skies and big views.  We made great time, gaining two thousand feet of vertical and covering 5.6 miles (one way) in 4.5 hours.  It felt great to pull into Low Camp, cache the load, and turn for base with light packs.  The scenery for the day was spectacular, with views of the third and fourth highest mountains in Antarctica as well as a very close up view of a very big wall on Antarctica’s highest mountain.  The day was made perfect when, just as we crested the final hill and could see basecamp again, a Twin Otter aircraft, found a way through the clouds.  JJ Justman made it into Vinson.  We enjoyed our first dinner together on the mountain.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

A plane landing at Vinson Base Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Waiting for Justman

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | November 28, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 7,000'

Another no-fly day at Vinson Base.  We were at the edge of a thick sea of clouds for much of the day and from what we heard, weather wasn’t very nice at Union Glacier either.  Temperatures were low again today, reportedly -23 C but most of the team felt more comfortable with the conditions today, perhaps we are acclimating.  It was a little tough to be anchored down in VBC today as a couple of our neighbors and friends pulled out and moved up to “Low Camp” but we’d very much like JJ Justman to be along for that journey.  So we did a bit more training and preparing.  Tomorrow, perhaps, we’ll have the whole team in one place… the way we like it.  And we’ll go climbing. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Punta Arenas, Chile, to Union Glacier, Antarctica.

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Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Get Set for Glacier Travel

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | November 27, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 7,000'

The team spent Thanksgiving Day at 7,000 ft above sea level on the Branscomb Glacier.  “VBC” at the foot of Mount Vinson.  Most took it on faith that Vinson was towering over us, since we couldn’t see it, or much of anything today.  We were clagged in with cloud and light snow throughout the day.  All were thankful to have come so far yesterday, via buses, two exotic airplanes, and a big wheeled van at Union Glacier.  The team would have been even more grateful if JJ Justman had been able to fly into VBC with us.  He was scheduled for the next flight, due to lack of space on our ski-equipped Twin Otter, but that next flight didn’t go when the weather deteriorated.  We muddled on without him today, reviewing some safety procedures with climbing harnesses and Avalanche beacons, and generally getting set for glacier travel.  It was quite cold for most of the day, with many of the team choosing to wear the big puffy down garments brought more specifically for the summit.  We enjoyed a visit and briefing given by David Hamilton, ALE’s basecamp manager.  In late afternoon, our gang took a little time to rest and to consider how all the football games back home might be going.  We then assembled on the snow benches of our dining tent for a five course meal. 
Happy Thanksgiving to all those back home sitting on real furniture. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

The view from Vinson Base Camp on a clear day.  Photo: Seth Waterfall

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Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Pleased to Reach Vinson Base Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | November 26, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 7,200'

Hey – this is Dave Hahn calling from Vinson Base Camp.  Yeah – I know, we started the day at the tip of South America, but we have made it all the way through Union Glacier and up to Vinson Base Camp.  It’s 1:30 in the morning, we got the day going a long time ago.  We were picked up from our hotel this morning a little after 7 in the morning so we have been on the go all day.  The weather was a little iffy at Union for getting out to Vinson and it took a little time but we got out, or most of us got out.  Jeff Justman, JJ, my other guide on this trip is still back there at Union Glacier.  But we took the opportunity to get all the climbers out, but my co-leader, JJ, is back there at Union.  So we will hope to have him to join us tomorrow.  That would be nice if that works out.  We will see what the weather does.
We have our Base Camp built and conditions aren’t too bad here right now.  We are pretty optimistic and pretty pleased with our selves getting all the way in, two big important flights done and we can start concentrating on the mountain.

Thank you,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

A Twin Otter delivers climbers from Union Glacier to Vinson Base Camp.  Photo: RMI Collection An RMI Team unloads gear at Vinson Base Camp.  Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide Dave Hahn checks in upon arrival at Vinson Base Camp.

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Vinson Massif:  Hahn & Team Have High Hopes for Morning

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | November 25, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif

As planned, we completed packing today.  Our bags were heavy and ready for an 11 AM weigh-in down in the hotel lobby.  It was a relief to then load them onto the ALE cargo truck and to be done with them.  The team members had one last day of individuality in which to indulge in Punta Arenas.  Some went along the shore for miles, stretching their legs and exploring the fringes of town.  Others shopped or exercised.  And some napped and caught up on correspondence.  At five in the evening, we migrated the four or five blocks over to ALE’s headquarters for a briefing on the logistics of our planned trip.  Within a few moments of arriving, we were informed that weather was so good around Union Glacier, that there would not be any “stand-by” and no tension of waiting for a phone call… The flight was on, plain and simple, be ready for pickup first thing in the morning.  We enjoyed a few celebratory cocktails, an informative slideshow and then a great dinner out.  We were torn between the urge to celebrate and raise toast after toast… And the need to get back to the rooms for a full night’s rest.
Moderation won out, we have high, high hopes for a big day tomorrow.  A trip to Antarctica’s interior and a great deal closer to the Vinson Massif.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Vinson Massif: Dave Hahn & Team Assembled in Punta Arenas

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | November 25, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif

The RMI Expeditions Mount Vinson climbing season is kicking off in style.  The team flew in to Punta Arenas, Chile yesterday from various and distant North American locales.  Miraculously, the all-important duffel bags accompanying those team members actually made it into town with them.

After a good sleep, the team assembled this morning for introductions and instructions on how to prepare for flying to The Ice.  The day was then spent with gear checks, packing and a little exploring of this classic Patagonian town nestled alongside Magellan’s Strait.  It was a typically crazy day, weather-wise, here at the tip of South America.  We cycled through bright sun, dark clouds, intense wind and rain out of clear skies.  It is a great place for bumping into fellow climbers, guides, explorers, adventurers and scientists bound for Antarctica.  In the evening, the team relaxed over a fine dinner out on the town.  Tomorrow we’ll put the finishing touches on our packing and receive a briefing from our logistical partner -ALE- on our prospects for getting the adventure going in the next day or two. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Punta Arenas, Chile: Kick-off point for Antarctica. Welcome to Punta Arenas! Photo: Dave Hahn The port town of Punta Arenas, Chile. Photo: Dave Hahn

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Mt. Rainier: August 31st Summit!

Posted by: Dave Hahn | August 31, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

RMI Guide Dave Hahn and the Mount Rainier summit climb team reached the summit in clear, calm and chilly conditions. The team spent some time on top marveling in the views and then began their descent at 9:25 a.m.  After a successful summit yesterday, the Five-Day Muir Summit Climb team, led by Jake Beren, is on their way down from Camp Muir.  We look forward to congratulating the teams in Ashford this afternoon!

Mt. Rainier's crater rim. Photo: Bryan Hendrick
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