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Entries from Vinson Massif


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Remain at Low Camp

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

On The Map

Following the blog daily. Stay safe and see you soon! Love, Judy

Posted by: Judy Johnson on 12/15/2014 at 10:36 am


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

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

On The Map


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Move to Low Camp

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

On The Map

Yay daddy! Stay safe and keep climbing! I’m completely done with my final exams and came home yesterday. Miss you so much!
Love,
Tilly

Posted by: Mattie Sullivan on 12/13/2014 at 11:17 am

Yay!  I figured you were on your way as well.  Thanks for the updates Dave!  Give Gary a hug for me :-)

Posted by: Kate Prusack on 12/13/2014 at 7:11 am


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

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

On The Map

Hi everybody!
Now you did the first step to the summit and the others will follow - I`m sure!!!
Thank you for your daily report, Dave!
I´m looking forward to hear more from this special place “on the bottom of the earth”!
Take good care of you, Hans - and all together!
Best wishes to you! Ute

Posted by: Ute Novak on 12/12/2014 at 12:13 pm


Vinson Massif: Team Hangs in Union Glacier

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

On The Map

That posted westher news for Mount Vinson is encouraging. Praying it holds. Patience.

Posted by: Bob Sullivan Sr on 12/11/2014 at 11:02 pm

I watched the weather report for Mount Vinson and there is sunshine for the next days and no wind or storm!!!
I wish you all good luck and specially all the best for Hans!
Ute

Posted by: Ute Novak on 12/11/2014 at 9:20 am


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Only in Union

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

Antartica seems to be such an isolated and beautiful space and while I am hoping one day to be able to explore the under and above aspects of this remote white and blue place, I am going to content myself by reading your adventurous expeditions. Way to go ” Mr Cousteau in the mountains “

Posted by: Chrystel on 12/11/2014 at 11:56 am

Back to back Vinson Massif guide climbs Dave?  You are still an animal!  Be safe all and have fun.

Posted by: Jeff Olson on 12/10/2014 at 7:50 am


Vinson Massif: Teams Fly To & From Union Glacier

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

On The Map

How excited we were to receive the text that the team was “a go”! Thank you so much for these blogs; it really helps keeping abreast with all the activities. Hopefully today ya’ll will be able to get to Vinson Base, home for awhile. Prayers continue. Lots of love, Mom

Posted by: Betty Sullivan on 12/9/2014 at 4:58 am


Vinson Massif: The Waiting is Over!

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

Greg:
It was so nice to hear your voice and I can’t wait to actually be able to talk to you! Congratulations on summiting!!!! We are so proud of you and can’t wait to hear all about the views from the top ;)!

Love you!!

Nic and Jek

Posted by: Angelica on 12/8/2014 at 4:04 pm


Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Arrive Back to Union Glacier

The team had a relaxing and slow morning at Vinson Basecamp.  Many commented on how good it had been to sleep well and warm once again.  Life at Basecamp seemed a million times easier than it had before we climbed the mountain.  However, yesterday’s predictions and proclamations that we’d shuttle from airplane to airplane and from continent to continent… were overly optimistic.  We did succeed -in late afternoon- in catching a twin otter out of VBC.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and so the high mountains of the Sentinel Range were spectacular whereas they’d been cloaked in murk when we flew in.  Union Glacier camp was even cushier than VBC, naturally, and so nobody expressed great frustration when it was announced that the Ilyushin 76 would not be coming today due to deteriorating weather.  We’re plenty happy for the moment, sitting in chairs and eating food that guides didn’t cook.  The gang wouldn’t mind flying tomorrow though… We’ll see.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map


Vinson Massif: Team Plays the Waiting Game in Punta Arenas

Hello,
Well, the phone call we got this morning was not the one we wanted. The news was that the flight was not going to happen and that the next scheduled update would be at 7:30 pm. The winds at both Punta Arenas and Union Glacier were too high.
We made great use of the day despite the flight being delayed. We took a tour of Fuerto Bulnes, the first establishment in this area, founded in 1834. It is about 35 miles east of Punta Arenas and plays a very important part in this area’s history. After some lunch we did a short walking tour of the city’s cemetery which is filled with beautiful mausoleums.  While a bit on the side of eerie, it was well worth it.
We were back at the hotel early and ready for the next update. When the call came, they said that the wind gusts in the last hour (53 knots) at the airport were a little too high, but they would call back in an hour and give us another update. The next call came as promised and while the winds diminished at the airport, the relative humidity at Union Glacier had increased 82%, and the flight was not going to happen tonight.
So the waiting game continues and we will start the process again tomorrow morning with the 7:30 am update. Hopefully tomorrow will be our day to fly.

Best,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

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