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Entries By dave hahn


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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Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Prepared for Flight to the Ice

Just after breakfast we hauled our duffel bags down to the hotel lobby.  ALE -our logistics company- weighed each bag and carted them away for packing on the Ilyushin 76 aircraft.  Thus freed from the temptation to fiddle with our gear, the team went for a walk along the shore.  We visited a few old square rigged ships beached and broken along the shore and looked for whales and/or dolphins out in the wind blown waves. 
In the evening, we attended ALE’s briefing/cocktail party to meet the other folks on our flight.  There are people going to see the Emperor Penguins at the edge of the continent, some who are bound for the South Pole, in the middle of everything, and a handful of teams joining us on Vinson.  Olivia, our contact at ALE, let us know that there was a chance we’d fly out just a few hours following the meeting, so we headed to dinner and crossed our fingers.  Things didn’t come together for a fight this evening though, so we relaxed and lingered over our dinner table, telling mountain stories. 
We’re optimistic that the morning will be a different story and that we’ll soon be flying south. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Hi Dave!
Of course I wish I was there with you guys.  Have a safe, spectacular climb.
-Larry

Posted by: Larry Seaton on 11/26/2017 at 8:13 am


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Check Equipment and Get Ready for Flight

As expected, today was an easy day of mountain climbing.  We met in the hotel dining room for our introductory strategy session… outlining what steps need to be taken in preparing to fly four and a half hours in a Russian jet and to disembark and go climbing in the remote interior of a frozen continent.  Next up were equipment checks to be sure each climber had the necessary gear for the journey.  The afternoon was then spent either walking the windy sidewalks tracking down odds and ends in the shops of Punta Arenas, or in simply resting and recuperating from the long flights and time changes we endured.  Patagonian weather is living up to its crazy reputation as we had a typical spring mix of rain showers, brilliant sunshine and then ferocious gusts of wind all in any given ten minute period.  We braved the elements, going for an early (7PM) dinner in another fine and friendly downtown restaurant and came out to twilight and blissfully reduced winds at 9PM. 
Tomorrow we’ll submit our gear for packing on the plane and we’ll enjoy what should be our last day in South America before Vinson. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Vinson Massif: Hahn and Team Arrive in Punta Arenas

We kicked off our Antarctic mountaineering expedition with a walk around the windy streets of Punta Arenas in the far South of Chile.   Most of the gang came in on the afternoon flights from Santiago, so stretching legs was crucial following all those uncomfortable hours in the air, the airports and the airliners.  We had a nice dinner at La Luna, one of the friendly restaurants just a few blocks from our hotel on the shore of Magellan’s Strait.  Turkey wasn’t on the menu, nor was there any cranberry or gravy… and it was five unrelated strangers sitting down to get to know one another.  So not your typical Thanksgiving feast, but for that, it was quite nice.  It was still plenty light out at 8:30 pm when we walked from the restaurant, a pleasant reminder that we’d switched hemispheres and seasons.   Tomorrow we’ll get down to the business of packing and preparing to climb Vinson.  Tonight was just for relaxing with new climbing partners. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Sue: wishing you and the team the best of a excellent weather to conquer Vinson Massif, a prayer for you and please be safe, We still have many more hikes to do together around the world.

Enjoy the beauty of Antarctica y keep warm, proud to be your friend and can’t wait to hear from you and your amazing, priceless adventure

Take Care!!!

Posted by: Sandra E on 11/26/2017 at 5:25 pm

Thanks for sharing pictures Dave! Those of us left behind are excited each time we see one on the blog. Wishing you all good health and good weather for a safe flight to Antarctica, soon.
Go Team Vinson! From the Butterfield Bunch

Posted by: Vickie Butterfield on 11/25/2017 at 9:10 pm


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Finish Safari and Depart for Home

Well we didn’t beat yesterday for game-viewing, but nobody seemed to mind giving it a try today.  It was great to wake up in Tarangire National Park and get started in the cool of the day with the place to ourselves.  We went down to the edge of a gigantic marsh (a mostly dry marsh at the moment -the rains will come soon) and cruised for cats.  We did see a gigantic lioness hanging out peacefully in the branches of a tree -guarding here recent kill, but not much other action.  Just animals and herds sprinkled about as far as the eye could see.  At midday we left the park and headed toward Arusha, stopping at the cultural center for some culture and keepsakes.  Back at Arumeru River Lodge by three, we thanked Juma and Edson and told them we’d see them on our next Safari.  Then it was time for repacking and gearing up for international flight.  One more great team dinner and we boarded the bus, saying goodbye to the hotel staff and to several of our team who have different flight schedules.  Back now to lines and security and insecurity and schedules… but we’ll have the morning out in a beautiful place to sustain us.  It has been a wonderful adventure, thank you for keeping track of us. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team in Awe at Tarangire National Park

Tarangire delivers!  Hard not to finish this day by pronouncing ourselves lucky in the extreme.  We saw things today… and then we saw more things… and more and more things.  At first, we just did a little touristing when we left the Plantation Lodge, hitting a souvenir/art shop and then visiting a Maasai Village.  This definitely interested us and is not to be minimized, but then we got into Tarangire National Park and began being mesmerized and amazed.  Things built up slowly.  First there was the watering hole with a flood of zebra and wildebeest charging in for a drink.  Then there were the dozens upon dozens of elephants we watched digging for water.  (The proclamation was made -prematurely- that it was the day of the elephant) then there was a landscape where every single tree had a giraffe, eland, waterbuck, impala or warthog under it… for miles.  But then there were the cheetahs.  Mom and cub, majestic and regal in their fur coats.  And then there were the lions.  At first there were a handful from a distance… then more of them, walking away.  Then a meeting of male and females and cubs in the distance.  Then we investigated to find thirteen cats of all sizes going to work on a freshly killed zebra.  The sights and sounds were stunning.  Better than any TV documentary.  Our cameras kept clicking and clicking as the sunlight got golden.  But we’d each put the electronics down to just stare in awe as well.
A short time later, we were sipping pre-dinner cocktails at beautiful Balloon Camp when our driver/naturalists walked in.  Juma and Edson got spontaneous and sustained round of applause. 
The day couldn’t be topped… but it could be savored.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team See an Abundance of Animals at Ngorongoro Crater

We were up early for this big day of the Safari, leaving our comfy hotel at 7 AM to get over to Ngorongoro Crater.  Our Landcruisers clawed their way up the rough dirt road to the crater rim and then we bounced our way around the circle until another dirt track took us down into the collapsed caldera.  Right off, we began seeing wildlife in great numbers and in close proximity.  Before long we were quite used to ostriches and great herds of wildebeest and Cape Buffalo.  We saw a pack of perhaps 20 hyena, barking eerily and crunching the bones of some freshly departed big animal.  We got way closer than we ever imagined was possible to a couple of lionesses and a big male who decided the road would do just fine for napping.  We saw (and got a whiff of) several dozen hippos, wallowing in various ponds.  There were secretary birds and kori bustards, fish eagles and vultures.  Gazelles and zebra were everywhere.  We didn’t manage to spot rhinos, but we did see a few great bull elephants.  The day was fairly hot and sunny until a system of thunderstorms rolled by, cooling things for our afternoon tour.  Then Edson and Juma skillfully brought the cruisers back down the rough roads to our hotel for a relaxing evening at the Plantation Lodge.  Suffice to say that we were blown away by our day inside a volcano.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Switch from Trail to Bush

We switched gears today… waking up -not to hiking/climbing- but to a day of being entertained and educated in the back of a Safari vehicle.  We piled into two modified Toyota Land Cruisers just after 8 AM and left Usa River heading west.  First there was the hustle and bustle of traffic on the outskirts of Arusha.  The city has nearly 2 million inhabitants, so our guide/drivers: Juma and Edson had their work cut out for them getting us out to the wide open countryside beyond the city.  We cruised dusty roads between herds of Maasai tended cattle as we made our way out to Lake Manyara.  This National Park purports to be the home of the tree climbing lions… who weren’t actually home today.  We didn’t see lions, but we saw baboons, blue monkeys, hippos, Cape buffalo, zebras and wildebeest.  The elephants we got to see munching on trees were a highlight, as were about a thousand new species of bird, each accurately identified and described by our amazing guides.  At the end of a fine day out in the bush, we headed for the Plantation Lodge and an evening of relaxation and dinner conversation in an extremely comfortable setting. 
Tomorrow we’ll get up early to see what we can see in Ngorongoro Crater. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Dad you are amazing-shane Fountaine

Posted by: Shane Fountaine on 9/26/2017 at 4:51 pm

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