Antarctica: Last Vinson teams summited in perfect conditions

Posted: Jan 21, 2013 09:51 am EST

(Newsdesk) Teams from the last Vinson rotation for this season reported summits. Climbers from Colombia, various parts of America, and Europe, Australia and New Zealand were on the mountain.

Columbian amputee, Nelson Cardona, summited with six fellow countrymen and two ANI guides, Andy and Patchi, January 17th.

ANI Columbian team

After descending from the summit, they slept in High Camp and the next day continued the descend to Base Camp "in a really long and exhausting day where Nelson Cardona suffered severe pains in lowering his leg amputated by rubbing with the prosthesis," the Columbians reported.

The team said after Vinson they will continue with their goal to climb the Seven highest mountains on the Seven Continents, "No limits Epic 7 Summits" with climbing Mount Elbrus in Russia and Carstenzs Pyramid in Indonesia.

Adventure Consultants

Adventure Consultants' guide, Lydia Bradey, reported about the pleasant spirit among the climbers on the mountain with ANI guide, Patchi, who brought them tent-made ice-cream, "tonight, JUST as we had finished dinner, Pachi, a strong, smiling Chilean female climbing guide comes into our tent at 2750m with a huge pot of ice-cream! We can let it sit while we do dishes because it is Antarctica; it's not really going to melt if it's not in the sun!

The next day at 11pm "in sunshine (of course)" the team pulled into into High Camp at 3,774m. "Everyone was pretty tired; it's a big day and especially if you carry heavy loads, it's a hard day," reported Lydia.

She described the climb from Low Camp to High Camp, "After over 1200m linear metres of fixed line plus a few sideways traverses to rest points, we began a long slow uphill around the back of a ridge to High Camp. The total ascent for yesterday was over 1000m!"

"The second highest peak in Antarctica, Mt Shinn, is visible all the way from near the top of the fixed ropes to High Camp. Shinn is dramatic, not technically difficult but tall and icy"

"It is not possible to see High Camp until you pop over a rib of snow 10m out from the camp proper. Lucky I had been told that so could reassure people whose legs and energy had reached their limit. We tackled the second half of the day with "mini-breaks", ie stopping a lot but not sitting down, and not stopping for long."

"We are up here with really super teams from Colombia, various parts of America, and Europe. Everyone is friendly, the guides and some clients come out for a critical 20mins to help put up tents, hot water is offered, all in it's a great vibe. We will be doing the same for another team moving up today. What a joy it, since this positive helpful energy is surely one of the most special things about mountaineering, and so often lost as the world gets busy. Here we are very remote and teams pull together!"

The AC team summited at 6pm on January 17th. About the summit day Lydia wrote, "right at the end of the spine of rock and snow is a great flat ledge overlooking EVERYTHING - Antarctica in all directions, mountains and ice sheets that your mind constantly assures you is cloud, except for the islands of rock that pierce the frozen terrain."

Then the descent started, "It was a long way down the glacier with a few of us groaning with sore toes as they hit the ends of our boots or rubbed against the sides of the inners (boot liners)."

After a rest day at HC they descended down the fix rope to Low Camp and Base Camp in one day. "Man oh man, did the juice and beer that greeted us taste good, and the happy, supportive and ever laughing group of people who are at VBC, ALE staff and climbers alike, made it even better."

Alpine Ascents

Alpine Ascents had two teams on Vinson; one team with guides Garrett Madison and Sam Hennesy and the other with guide Matt Hegeman. From Low Camp six climbers with Sam and Garrett did a carry up to High Camp, left the load at High Camp and returned back down to Low Camp to spend the night. Both teams then moved to High Camp, set up tents, "finally getting to bed about 2:30am on the 17th," reported Garrett.

They summited on the 18th at 4.30 pm. Garrett described it as a beautiful day, hardly any wind up here, it’s warm, sunny, no clouds, views as far as the eye can see. So we’re really excited to be up here, it’s just a spectacular day. Everybody’s doing great." The next day they headed all the way down from High Camp to Vinson Base Camp.

International Mountain Guides

IMG guide Greg Vernovage reported a "fantastic" day on top of Mount Vinson. "Snow conditions on the route and summit ridge were perfect. It’s a great feeling when you hit that summit ridge; you know you’re climbing and are so close to your goal that you can’t help but put one foot in front of the other….you can taste it!"

"On the summit itself, there was not a breathe of wind and the view was for as far as the earth will allow. Right as we pulled onto the summit we were greeted by a Twin Otter flyby, so close that I could see the pilot snapping a few photos of the team. What a perfect day."

"We obviously climb to get to the top, but the overall journey and the group I’m with make the trip. This one was no different – it was a great trip with fun people, what a way to ring in another New Year."

Gateway port Punta Arenas, Chile, South America:
To ALE/ANI base camp, Union Glacier
(79° 45'S, 083° 14'W).

The Antarctic season closes in 6 days with the last Ilyushin-76 flight from Punta Arenas to Union Glacier scheduled for January 27th (weather permitting) when the last skiers, climbers, cargo, waste and staff will be flown out to Chile by this large cargo plane.


Expeditions/adventures/projects with RSS feeds can be followed in the live Dispatch stream at the Pythom App for iPhone and on Android as well as at ExplorersWeb.

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IMG guide, Greg Vernovage on the summit:, "Right as we pulled onto the summit we were greeted by a Twin Otter flyby, so close that I could see the pilot snapping a few photos of the team. What a perfect day." Mt Shinn and Mt Tyree in the foreground.
Image by Tim Currall courtesy Tim Currall / IMG, SOURCE
IMG guide, Greg Vernovage on the summit:, "Right as we pulled onto the summit we were greeted by a Twin Otter flyby, so close that I could see the pilot snapping a few photos of the team. What a perfect day." Mt Shinn and Mt Tyree in the foreground.
Image by Tim Currall courtesy Tim Currall / IMG, SOURCE
Columbian climber and amputee, Nelson Cardona, and his fellow countrymen with ANI guides, Andy and Patchi, pulling sleds from VBC to Low Camp
courtesy Columbian Mount Vinson team, SOURCE
Heading towards Low Camp.
courtesy Columbian Mount Vinson team, SOURCE
Heading up the fixed rope to High Camp.
courtesy Adventure Consultants over Contact5, SOURCE
Windblown path above high Camp with Mt. Shinn, 2nd highest mountain on Antarctica, in the background. "Shinn is dramatic, not technically difficult but tall and icy", said AC guide, Lydia Bradey.
courtesy Adventure Consultants live over Contact5, SOURCE
Rocky pillar on the summit ridge. Lydia: "right at the end of the spine of rock and snow is a great flat ledge overlooking EVERYTHING - Antarctica in all directions, mountains and ice sheets that your mind constantly assures you is cloud, except for the islands of rock that pierce the frozen terrain."
courtesy Adventure Consultants over Contact5, SOURCE
View from the top.
courtesy Adventure Consultants over Contact5, SOURCE
Heading down the fixed rope to Low Camp.
courtesy Adventure Consultants over Contact5, SOURCE
Done: Relaxing in front of ANI's main tent at Vinson Base Camp.
courtesy Adventure Consultants over Contact5, SOURCE

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