November 27 – 30, 2011
Today, we got up around 8:00am. It is a long way down to Base Camp and it is important to make sure that we all make it down healthy. As we all knew, accidents often happen on the way down after a long summit day. The weather was still good and we left Camp 2 around 9:00am, went down the fixed rope and arrived in Camp 1 after a few hours. Once there, we took all our remaining equipment and food, loaded up the sleds and moved on to Base Camp where we arrived at 4:00pm. It was a long day but all of us were happy to be back in Base Camp.
November 26, 2011
Today, we got up shortly before 8:00am. The weather was good and we decided to go for the summit! We left Camp 2 at 9:30am and moved slowly up the long way to the summit. The first part was not steep, but it was very far to the summit slope. We finally arrived at the summit of Mount Vinson, the highest mountain in Antarctica, 4,892m / 16,067ft, at 5:00pm.
November 21 – 24, 2011
The first night in the tent was cold, but I am sure that we will get used to this environment. Will we? Well, the next morning we stayed as long as possible in the warm sleeping bag. Once up, we had breakfast and later we had a review on glacier traversing. Yes, there are huge glaciers in Antarctica and we will have to walk in rope teams during the entire climb on the mountain: three to five people on one rope, every day.
November 19 – 20, 2011
Today, on November 19, in the morning, we received a message from ALE that we may leave for Antarctica at 2:00pm. This was exciting news and we went back to your rooms to do the final packing. We checked out around 1:00pm and waited in the hotel lobby for the news. Now things moved fast: The luggage was weighed, loaded and moved to the airport.
November 14 – 18, 2011
November 14 was the official start of our Mount Vinson, Antarctica expedition. We had our first briefing meeting at 7:3pm that evening. It was nice to meet the other team members and the guides that evening. We are a total of nine climbers and three guides. Dave Hahn, a very experienced RMI mountain guide is our lead guide. After short introduction we had dinner together.
November 11 – 13, 2011
After a long flight with stops in New York and Santiago de Chile I finally arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile, the starting point of the Mount Vinson, Antarctica expedition. Punta Arenas is an expansive city on the edge of the Strait of Magellan. Set at the bottom of the Americas, sunny days are a rare thing here and nature’s inhospitality is omnipresent. Easy connections to Southern Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and Torres del Paine National Park make this city a good starting point for travelers and trekkers.
Welcome to my Mount Vinson, Antarctica blog. After Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, McKinley/Denali, Aconcagua and this year’s Everest journey this will be my sixed expedition. This time it will bring me from Punta Arenas, in the south of Chile all the way to Antarctica and there to the Vinson Massif. We will leave Punta Arenas with a Russian IL76 military airplane and a 5 hour flight will bring us to our camp side Patriot Hills, as this area is only accessible by air. Patriot Hills is nestled within the heartland of Antarctica. The camp is at 80º 19′ south latitude and 81º 16′ west longitude, 1000m above sea level and 1076km from the South Pole. From there we will fly with a small twin plane to the Mount Vinson base camp. From this point on, the climb of mount Vinson in its hostile climate will start.
Please follow this blog if you are interested to learn more about the expedition in general and the progress made on an ongoing basis. I will try to provide you with updates as much as the conditions will permit. However, since this expedition is really unique in terms of location, climate and transportation (weight limits), I may not be able to use my laptop during the whole expedition. Nevertheless, I will be happy to share with you along the way my feelings and impressions as much as possible. It’s the journey, not the destination!