Entries By dave hahn

Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Summit!

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 16, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 16,067'

Hey this is Dave Hahn calling from the summit of Mount Vinson, 16,067 feet above sea level, highest point in Antarctica. Our whole team is here! We got here at 3:45 local time and we’re still here at about about 10 minutes after 4:00. It is just beautiful, windless, sunny, clouds, but just a few of them. So we’re feeling very lucky. Beautiful day up here. We’ll be in touch from High Camp.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Congratulations to Gary Johnson & Bob Sullivan who have now reached the summit of each of the highest mountains on all seven continents. An impressive accomplishment! And congratulations to Dave Hahn on his 35th summit of the Vinson Massif.

RMI Climbers above Vinson High Camp on Summit Day. Photo: Dave Hahn Dave Hahn on the Vinson Massif summit. Photo: TA Loeffler


RMI Guide Dave Hahn calls from the Vinson Massif summit.

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Vinson Massif:  Hahn & Team Move to High Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 15, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 12,150'

A great day for climbing, at last.  We were out of the tents just after the sun broke the big freeze at Low Camp.  Conditions looked much better today, so we ate breakfast, tore down the tents and hit the trail.  Actually, we broke the trail, which wasn’t too big a deal.  The fixed ropes were under about two or three inches of hard wind blown snow.  It was a long time on a steep angle but most of the way, the surface was perfect for our crampons.  We worried that the wind might come up as we topped the ridge, but we cleared that area fast and escaped the big chill.  Five and a half hours of hard work brought us in to beautiful “High Camp” at 7 PM.  It was perfectly calm and sunny at 12,150 ft and we set to work building a comfortable and secure camp.  We like this one to be secure since we are right on the edge of a dramatic and profound drop-off.  One doesn’t have to go but 75 feet to be staring straight down the 3000 ft to low camp.  Looking out to the west is a shining sea of ice and low cloud stretching seemingly forever. 
We ate dinner and prepped our packs for tomorrow.  It just might be our summit day. 

Best Regards
RMI Guides Dave Hahn

The views from High Camp on Mt. Vinson, Antarctica.  Photo: Jake Norton/ First Ascent

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Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Remain at Low Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 14, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 9,100'

Despite our being very much ready to break camp and head higher, the upper mountain wasn’t ready for us.  When the sun finally hit at 11 AM, it was coming through streamers of wind blown snow driven from the ridge crest that -coincidentally- was to be our goal for the day.  We ate breakfast and eyeballed the clouds and winds, neither of which got better as we watched.  The forecast had called for light winds and light cloud cover.  We had to admit, that in every other location visible to us, that prediction seemed accurate… Except the one place we wanted to go.  We watched as gust after gust drove snow straight down the length of the fixed ropes.  In other parts of the world, we might have attempted to fight such a wind, but in this ultra cold environment, it wouldn’t have been a fair fight.  By mid-afternoon there was no letup and so a rest day was declared.  Five teams camped around us did exactly the same thing.  Two small teams already at high camp hunkered down and reported steady 25 knot winds with higher gusts.  For being a bad-weather day, it was sunny and calm where we sat, slept, read, played cards, ate and drank.  Tomorrow.

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

An RMI Vinson Team camped at Low Camp, Antarctica.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Have A Lazy Day At Low Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 13, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 9,100'

Today was an easy one for our Vinson climbing team.  We’d planned a rest day to help with our acclimatization and so, after tearing out of bed at the crack of 11:15 AM, we had a long, slow breakfast of bacon, eggs, hash browns and hot drinks.  We went for a short walk in the mid-afternoon to the base of the fixed ropes and climbed a couple of pitches to reacquaint ourselves with steep snow protocols and methods.  Then it was back to Low Camp to rest up and sort gear.  Weather wasn’t perfect today -there were high clouds being blown from the summits of the high peaks, but it was nice and calm where we were.  We’ll see what we get tomorrow and perhaps we can move to High Camp. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Move to Low Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 12, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 9,100'

It was great to be in Vinson Base last night… Quiet and peaceful (once the airplanes quit bringing climbers in, that is, sometime after 2 AM).  We got going this morning at the usual VBC civilized hour of 9 AM.  There was plenty to do in getting sorted, getting breakfast and getting some meeting time in with the other climbing guides and the ALE staff.  Eventually we got tents down, packs loaded, and our ropes tied for glacier travel.  We were first out of camp at 1:43 PM.  Conditions were excellent and we made great time, arriving at the 9,000 ft “Low” Camp at 6:30, having traveled 5.6 miles.  Sunburn was of more concern to us than frostbite today.  The views of Vinson’s giant and jagged northern neighbors- Shinn, Epperly and Gardner, were stupendous.  Our camp went up quick and easy.  Dinner went down without any hiccups and we were in bed by 11 PM.  All were warned that the brilliant sunshine would warm the tents only until 3 AM.  Then, although the sun won’t set, it will go behind our mountain for about eight hours and life will be cold in the shadows.  We’ll reemerge from the tents at 11 AM to see what sort of day we have.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

The mountains surrounding Vinson Low Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Vinson Massif Expedition: Weather Clears to Allow Team to Fly Vinson Base

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 12, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif
Elevation: 7,200'

December 11, 2014 - 8:01 pm PT
A good chunk of this day was spent like the last three days… waiting and wondering when we’d get to fly.  But two thirds of the way through dinner, everything changed.  The weather at Vinson got good and we got up from the table and out to take down our tents. 
We’d spent the morning enjoying a fat-tire bike ride around the 10 kilometer course.  During afternoon, the wind got up at Union Glacier and we stayed inside the big dining tent, playing games, reading and talking.  Most had given up hope for getting to Vinson on this day by the time we got the call.  We loaded into the ski equipped Twin Otter and took off in a hurry.  Then we enjoyed the magical scenery as we flew up the middle of the Ellsworth Mountains.  Nothing but ice and rock -in a million different configurations- as far as the eye could see.  The mountains got enormous as we approached Vinson and the pilot dove down toward the Branscomb Glacier to set us, ever so smoothly, at Vinson Basecamp.  We hopped out into strong sunshine and calm air… Such a relief after the winds at Union today.  Up went our tents and we crawled in after staring slack-jawed at the unreal and gigantic ice cliffs and rock escarpments around us. 
Tomorrow, if all goes well, we just might go mountain climbing.

Best Regards
RMI Guides Dave Hahn

Flying into Vinson Base Camp, Antarctica.  Photo: RMI Collection A Twin Otter arrives at Vinson Base Camp, Antarctica.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Vinson Massif: Team Hangs in Union Glacier

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 10, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif

The sun refused to shine today.  At least in the Union Glacier region of Antarctica.  Not so bright over at Vinson either, according to reports.  No flying today as a system of moisture is moving through -at least we hope it is moving through.  For all of that, it wasn’t a bad day here, just cloud, murk and light snow.  There wasn’t any of the wind which usually is the main ingredient for making a miserable day in these parts.  We got out this morning to review avalanche procedures and then went for a walk and talk on the 10 kilometer track which is groomed and marked out with flags on the immense flat surface of the glacier.  Afternoon was spent on reading, mingling, chocolate and chess. 
As usual, we are ready to fly out to Vinson for our climb. First thing tomorrow morning would be just fine, but the forecast is still calling for mank. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Only in Union

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 09, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif

The weather out at Vinson Base remained unsuitable for flying.  The fog was in.  We ate breakfast and drank coffee at Union Glacier Camp.  Without a ray of hope for the Vinson mission, the Twin Otter aircraft were dispatched on long flights that took them close to the South Pole.  They dropped off several teams interested in skiing “the Last Degree” (of latitude - 60 nautical miles) to the Pole.  Back at Union, our team whiled away a windy morning inside the dining tent. After lunch, things had calmed and so we got out our ropes and rescue gear to run through crevasse rescue systems.  There are dozens of other climbers in our same boat… Waiting for a plane.  They were out in force today, reviewing their own rope techniques in Russian, German, French, Chinese, and exotic English. 
We’ll hope for a change in the fog out at BBC tomorrow.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Union Glacier map

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Vinson Massif: Teams Fly To & From Union Glacier

Posted by: Dave Hahn | December 08, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif

Team switch day at Union Glacier.  The Ilyushin 76 flew today, landing at about 2:45 PM.  “V1” ended and “V2” began.  There were a couple of hours of overlap in Union Base so that the two teams could mingle and compare notes on Punta Arenas and Vinson Massif.  The V1 gang told stories of the cold summit, the good food and the two pure white snow petrels we saw at Vinson Base yesterday while waiting for the airplane (it is uncommon to see seabirds so far from the sea).  The V2 folk talked about false starts yesterday and touring town with Jeff Martin.  Eventually it was time for JJ to take V1 out to the big jet airplane and head back across the Drake Passage to South America.  It is likely that the team is celebrating in Punta at this very moment (11:43 PM).  Back on the Ice, the V2ers waited patiently for flying weather to materialize at Vinson Base.  Word was that it was socked in with fog.  We talked, played chess, ate meals and drank coffee, but none of that made the clouds go away.  By about 10 PM we built our tents and called it a night… In the bright sunshine.  Tomorrow perhaps.  Getting to the middle of Antarctica was plenty for today. 
Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

The Ilyushin 76 having just landed at Union Glacier, Antarctica.  Photo: Peter Whittaker Teams fly from Punta Arenas, Chile to Union Glacier on the Ilushin 76.  Then take smaller ski equipped planes to Vinson Base Camp.

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Vinson Massif: The Waiting is Over!

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Jeff Martin | December 08, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif

The waiting is over! We got the call at 7:30 this morning that it was a go. We needed to be ready by 8:00 for the shuttle to the airport. By the time we got to the airport, the crew was already making final flight preparations, and an hour later we were ready for takeoff.
Next stop will be Union Glacier where the team will be met by Dave Hahn. Dave will write the next dispatch once they arrive on the ice.

Best,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

Preparing to fly to Union Glacier. Photo: RMI Collection

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