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Entries from Vinson Massif


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Return to Punta Arenas

Friday, December 15, 2017

Back in South America!  It was a fine morning out at Union Glacier.  One could tell our outfitter (ALE) was anxious to get rid of the fifty odd stinky, hungry, hyper climbers in camp.  The Ilyushin was off deck from Punta Arenas by mid morning and we were on it ready for take off at 3 PM.  The morning at Union was wonderful, saying so long to old and new friends.  Everyone commented on how long us “V1” climbers had been down (pretty far into V2) and sure, it is true… we got way behind schedule waiting for storms… but somehow today, it all seemed extremely worth the wait.  Landing in rain in Punta Arenas was a novelty.  Darkness was a novelty.  Showers and plumbing were a novelty.  Dinner together was just fun and delicious (starting at10 PM -normal for Latin America).  We went to the top floor of a high hotel for a nightcap and found the other fifty climbers we’d traveled with.  Lots of fist bumping, back slapping and hugging ensued.  It began to crystallize… we’d lived through a great adventure together.  We’ll remember it forever.
Tomorrow (later today actually) we’ll bump into each other in airports from Punta to Miami and beyond.  It will be back to the same old grind… but not quite… we’ve shared enough of the good stuff in the wildest, weirdest corner of the world to make that same old grind a little finer forever. 
Thanks very much for keeping track of our adventure. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Our class of 2nd graders is studying Antarctica and we are looking at where you have been and reading your stories.  We are all very amazed at your adventures and some of us have climbed in the Catskills and Adirondacks knowing you may have climbed there when you were in 2nd grade.  We are studying the animals, the geography and weather and hoping to learn more about Antarctica in your posts.

Posted by: Gretchen Werner on 1/25/2018 at 12:00 pm

Well done Sue and team! Stellar work :-) Safe travels home

Posted by: John Horgan on 12/18/2017 at 11:45 am


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Enjoy an Easy Day

Today was just plain easy.  The weather was fine, the flight to Chile is still on for tomorrow, the food was plentiful… stress was low, all around.  We played games, attended history lectures, rested and talked endlessly with adventurers, explorers and climbers.  The dining tent at Union Glacier is an international crossroads beyond compare.  It isn’t uncommon to hear a different language -or two-
at each table as one passes through with platefuls of fresh fruit and veggies flown onto the Ice from South America.  Life is way easier here than out at Vinson, but we’re still talking animatedly about summit day there… or about the storms that challenged us.  But now we’re also starting to talk about travel plans and what might be next… for climbing or visiting or just for living.  If all goes well, we could be back in Punta Arenas tomorrow night, which would require lots of switching gears and reconnecting with the world.  For tonight though, we’re still sleeping on snow in a world of our own. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Congratulations to all ! Thanks for sharing your trip.

Posted by: David Clemmons on 12/15/2017 at 8:13 am


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Go from High Camp to Union Glacier

And just like that… everything started moving again.  The storm ended exactly on schedule.  By 6:30 AM High Camp was calm and sunny and we started brewing up.  We packed and dug our gear out of the snow.  We shook pounds of ice and frost out of the tents before stuffing them in their sacks.  With crampons on one last time, we departed at 10 AM.  After seeing virtually nothing for days, the scenery today was welcome and spectacular.  We made good time down the fixed ropes in the morning shadow.  Lindsay led the charge, pulling the lines free of the wind slabbed snow for a good chunk of the route.  At Low Camp, we re-tooled and set up for hauling sleds.  No more crampons and ice axes, it was time to switch back to ski poles.  By this point we’d been made aware that there were seats on an airplane out of Vinson Base just for us… provided that we got our tails down there in time.  We had the lower mountain pretty much to ourselves for the next few hours of trudging through the frozen beauty of the Branscomb Glacier.  There was just time enough on reaching base to hastily organize gear before the Twin Otter floated in to a perfect landing.  We said our goodbyes to the mountain and the ALE staff at Vinson Base Camp and climbed aboard.  Back at Union Glacier, we got out in early evening to a far easier environment… hard packed level snow, mild temps and walk-in tents with tables and chairs.  We caught up to the gang of Vinson climbers we’d originally gone to the mountain with.  It was a pleasant reunion with guests and staff and everybody trading notes on weather at the top of Antarctica, out at the penguins, back in the Alps or off in the Himalaya.  Word is that an Ilyushin flight may be inbound for us the day after tomorrow… on the 15th.  Better late than never.  In any case, my team is looking forward to a low altitude night without a storm tearing at the tents.  Union is certainly good enough for now. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Papa (Steve) I miss, miss, miss you, really bad papa! Glad you got to the top, hurry back - Sierra. I miss you and love you - Kira.  The Grandkids helped me make fudge tonight. They are very anxious to have you back. We love you and can’t wait to see you, soon. Vickie

Posted by: Vickie Butterfield on 12/14/2017 at 8:34 pm

Thank goodness I can stop feeling guilty every time I put another chunk in the wood stove or fry a real egg or go to the kitchen to top off my coffee cup.  You are probably all walking around Union Glacier in your flip flops and tank tops by now.  Linz, my birthday present will be you getting safely underway back to Indiana.  Congrats to all from 630’ altitude, 22 degrees F. and gentle breeze.  There are still colors besides blue and white. 

Dave, thanks for looking after our girl.  When I tried to teach our kids that taking a little risk adds spice to life, Lindsay took me seriously.

Posted by: Les Z on 12/14/2017 at 5:24 am


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Remain at High Camp

Still at High Camp.  True to the predictions, today was a lot like yesterday.  Windy, snowy, socked-in, cold and consistently poor for going places.  We passed the day in our sleeping bags, with a little more frost and snow building up in the tents each and every hour.  But we are still smiling.  We’re fed.  We’re hydrated.  Well-rested, tanned and ready for action.  This evening, although we are still in murk and a ground blizzard, the peaks are out.  Cloud free and shining in sunlight.  The forecasters back at Union Glacier tell us we are in store for rapid clearing and calming tomorrow. In which case we’ll shake off the frost and get moving again.
Best Regards

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Following your daily updates with high anticipation that today will be the day you are finally at lower camp…as a total mountain novice I stand at awe of your adventure and all that it brings!
Hurry home Sue…we can’t wait to hear all about it!! Yes…beers and burgers await! Or hot cocoa & soup…?!?
Love you my friend!

Posted by: Laura Thompson on 12/13/2017 at 11:13 am

Deja vu from 17 camp on Denali.  I hope today turns out to be a great day for a hike.  Cheeseburgers and beer on this end.  Pop

Posted by: Les Zimmerman on 12/13/2017 at 7:23 am


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Paying Dues

Our summit has clearly angered the mountain gods.  We woke to a blizzard at 12,300 ft.  Not the worst blizzard though, winds are steady at about 25 mph, visibility is barely to the neighboring tents, the air is chock full of snow -at least some of which is “falling” from the cloud we are in.  Moving -even to lower and more comfortable climates and airplanes- was out of the question.  Besides, on the radio at midday it sounded heinous at Low Camp, with fifty-knot gusts and busted tents.  So we sat put.  Our tents are holding up well, although great quantities of snow and frost seem to find their way inside.  We recovered from yesterday’s climb with bed rest and hot meals and coffee and cocoa.  A small price to pay for a visit to the highest point on the continent. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Good job Lindsay! Congrats! Keep hanging in there, we can’t wait to hear all about it!
-Emily, Grace, and the Henry crew

Posted by: Emily L on 12/12/2017 at 3:29 pm

People don’t climb mountains because it’s easy.  People climb mountains because it’s hard.  Beats the hell out of being stuck on the freeway.  I’m so proud of all you guys.  Mountain-forecast.com says things may calm down on Wednesday.  Hang in there and stay hunkered down until it’s right.  Love you girl. -  Pop

Posted by: Les Z on 12/12/2017 at 5:33 am


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Summit and Storm

We made it to the summit of Vinson today!  In the nick of time as it turned out.  While our time of ascent was a blazing fast seven hours, the mountain was anything but easy today.  We started with blue skies, bright sun and a nagging 10 mph breeze when the stoves were fired shortly after seven this morning.  That breeze made things like fastening harnesses and crampons quite cold.  We roped up and got moving at 9:45 hoping to lose the wind as we got into the protection of the valley glacier that would take us to the summit.  That worked a little, things were reduced to occasional gusts.  Those gusts increased in frequency and force as we got up near 15,000 ft.  By the time we were scrambling onto the summit ridge, it was blowing a more or less steady 30 mph.  We worked pretty hard to keep each other’s faces frost free and to keep sunglasses and ultimately goggles from fogging up.  Hitting the top at 4:45 was a thrill, but not at all one we could linger over.  We squeezed off just a couple of photos (which we’ll post after getting back to the Wi-Fi world) but it really wasn’t the day for bare hands on the summit.  We set out to get off the ridge and down to high camp.  This was accomplished in about three hours, during which we watched winds increase and a storm move into the Ellsworth Mountains.  At 8:00 when we pulled into camp, the sun was in the clouds and winds were rock steady at about 20 mph, moving plenty of snow around.  The victory dinner was in tents as it is far from pleasant at High Camp tonight.  We snuck this one in… now to get down the mountain.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Congrats Zimmerman!!Matt and I have enjoyed keeping up with your adventure!! Safe travels back down!!Can’t wait to catch up with you and hear your stories!!

Posted by: Deborah and Matt on 12/11/2017 at 5:50 pm

Congratulations!  Well done.  Stay safe on the descent.

Posted by: Dale on 12/11/2017 at 9:32 am


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Cruise into High Camp

Today was just right for moving.  We were up and getting ready shortly after the ten thirty sun hit the tents.  Launch time was 12:50 PM and with perfect conditions, we made steady and excellent progress.  Certainly the 2,000 vertical feet of the fixed lines were still difficult with heavy packs, but we had the benefit of being on familiar ground.  We cruised into High Camp at 6 PM, still feeling strong, but also noticing just how much colder it is up around 12,300 ft.  We dressed up and built camp, got stoves going and sat down out in the sunshine for dinner.  The views from here are other-worldly, with ice stretching beyond the visible horizon in any direction and mountains rising to ridiculously sharp summits all around.  The teams we waited with at Union Glacier all hit the summit today and we greeted them each with a “congratulations” and a fist bump when they rolled into camp on their return. 
Perhaps we’ll get as lucky tomorrow.  We will be ready. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Hi Steve,

How cool is this that I get to write you a little note.  I have been thinking about you and what an amazing experience you must be having.  I’m looking forward to hearing about it when you get home.  Be Safe!!!  I’ll tell mom about this web sight.  We love you!!!  Joke: What do you call a cold ghost?
A: casp-burr!
Stay Warm!!!

Posted by: Allison Gibbons on 12/10/2017 at 9:08 pm

Steve,
We are praying for you and your team. We hope that today will be the day. Be safe and enjoy this special time. We will be anxious to see you upon your return.
Best to you. Jack and Camille

Posted by: Jack and Camille on 12/10/2017 at 5:32 am


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Start Out and Then Return to Low Camp

Still just a bit breezy up high.  The teams at High Camp reported steady 15 knot winds but thing looked a lot better from Low Camp today, the giant airwave lenticular cloud to the west of the mountains was gone and we had high hopes for going high if the snow streamers off the ridge died down.  They did, a little later than we would have liked but we decided to break camp and make the move.  We only got to the base of the fixed ropes before deciding to give it one more day.  The team wasn’t firing on all cylinders and the continuing cold winds above the fixed ropes could make the last hours into High Camp quite difficult.  We set up Low Camp again and set our sights on tomorrow. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Hang tough Sue and team.  You will pull this off and if memory serves me this will be number 3 of the big 7!

Posted by: Russ Frederrickson on 12/9/2017 at 5:45 am

Hi Sue & crew! Praying for a break in the wind so you guys can make it all the way! Best of luck for tomorrow!! God Bless!
Your So Cal crew!!

Posted by: Laura on 12/8/2017 at 10:13 pm


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Continue to Wait

Today was a lot like yesterday.  We were up at the crack of 10:30, and despite fine conditions where we were it was windy where we wanted to go.  Again, we ate breakfast and watched for some sign of calming.  We talked via radio to the three teams holding on at High Camp who confirmed that they were holding on.  We bided our time, buffed out our snow camp and chatted with the guides and climbers of the only other group at Low Camp.  We read, drank water, watched TV, napped, cut snow blocks and watched the sun collide with the stationary lenticular cloud in the western sky.  Just like yesterday, it made for a chilly afternoon and evening.  But a pretty one.  Each time we came out of the cook tent or one of the sleeping tents, there was the temptation to just stare, slack-jawed, at Vinson’s immense rock wall, or Shinn’s delicate summit, or Epperly’s rarely traveled vertical gullies. 
We’ll get our chance to go upstairs soon enough and we’ll be ready to make the most of it. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Following along! This is fascinating! Hi to Lindsay Z! You’re amazing, Woman! What an adventure!

Posted by: Jeanne Vrabel on 12/8/2017 at 6:26 am

Hang in there team!  Your day is coming.  As the old man said to his little girl, we didn’t come this far and work this hard to not climb the mountain.  Rock on!

Posted by: Les Z on 12/8/2017 at 5:25 am


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Wait at Low Camp for Better Weather

We thought we were moving up to High Camp today.  No dice.  It was too windy up high.  Although it was sunny and calm where we stood at Low Camp, we could see big streamers of snow jetting out from the ridge we wanted to be on.  We packed up about halfway anyway and ate breakfast watching to see if things eased.  Radio communications with the teams already at High Camp confirmed that it was miserable and cold up there and that they were just in hunker-down-and-wait mode.  We did the same, without the misery.  If anything, the wind got a little worse in the early afternoon, chasing snowy dust devils all the way to the base of the fixed ropes.  We thought for a time that the wind might work on over to Low Camp, but we were spared.  The afternoon did get a bit cold though when the sun ran into a high stationary cloud sitting west of the mountains. My team took it all in stride, retreating to books and sleeping bags for a second rest day.  In other places, such winds wouldn’t be a big deal and you could push on through, but with the colder temperatures we deal with down here, there’d be too much chance of frostbite and hypothermia.  We’ll wait for a better day. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team
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