Posts Tagged 'Mt. Vinson'

High Camp on Mt. Vinson!

Whew!  Saturday’s climb was not difficult but was VERY LONG!  7.5 hours of climbing – 5 hours of which was on fixed lines at a 45% angle.  But we successfully reached High Camp and are now preparing for our summit attempt.  Sunday has been a rest day and we are planning to start our summit climb tomorrow – Monday.

I got very cold for the first time yesterday and was really shivering the last 45 minutes of the climb.  When we stopped at High Camp I had to huddle in my sleeping bag for a few hours and warm up!  But we had a great dinner in our tent and are now all snug and cozy in our down bags.

Today has been crystal clear without a cloud in the sky.  It is so beautiful here.  The silence is striking (I guess we have a constant hum of noise around us everyday).  But here there are absolutely no sounds whatsoever most of the time.  We had a nice visit with some climbers from Spain who were descending from a successful summit.  There is such a fantastic mix of people from all over the world doing all kinds of interesting things here in Antarctica!

So… our plan is to summit tomorrow (Monday) and come back down to High Camp to spend the night.  On Tuesday we will descend all the way to Base Camp, skipping Camp 2.  We do have sleds to pick up on our way down, and will hopefully be able to get all the way to Base Camp with all our gear by Tuesday night.

Wish us luck and clear weather tomorrow!  Mt. Vinson will mark number 5 of the Seven Summits – leaving me only Australia and Mt. Everest to complete my mission.  As cold as it is, there is no where on earth I would rather be at this moment.

Climb On!

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Camp 2!!

1/4/08: Brooke and I have successfully reached Camp 2 at 8,700′. The climb from Base camp was approximately 7.5 miles and took us about 5 hours. The area was heavily crevassed and we arrived around 2 am (Antarctic time!). It is incredibly beautiful here! The snowy landscape and the sky seem to blend together. Right now I am looking at a headwall with a 45-50% angle that we will have to scale tomorrow as we climb to High Camp. We’re expecting about 1000 meters (6 hours) of very technical climbing ahead.

So far, I haven’t even needed to don my new down suit. Right now I’m wearing 4 tops, 3 pairs of pants, a down coat and a hat – and I’m perfectly comfortable. Although the temperatures are frigid, the sun shines brightly on the snow most of the time and it is pleasant. The sun never sets – it only sinks low behind a mountain range for a few hours and that’s when the cold really hits.

Saturday we will be climbing to High Camp where we will cache a lot of gear. Hopefully Sunday can be a rest day before our push to the summit. Cross your fingers for Monday – it’s the BIG DAY!!!

I’ve been unable to make recorded conference calls as planned due to the bad satellite signal, so blogging will have to suffice for now. Thank you to everyone who is supporting my mission and cheering me to the top!

Climb on

Base Camp!

We safely reached Base Camp on Mt. Vinson at 11 pm on January 2nd! The late arrival time didn’t matter at all because the sun shines 24 hours a day right now (the peak of summer in Antarctica). We have changed climbing routes due to some issues last year with the old route, and will now only stop at 3 camps throughout our ascent: Base Camp at 7000′, Camp 2 at 8700′ and High Camp at 12,200′. More to come soon…

Climb on!

Updates from ‘the Ice’…

1/1/08:  I have safely landed in Antarctica and will share more about Patriot Hills soon!  For now, we are waiting yet again for the weather to clear so that we can take our flight to base camp on Mt. Vinson Massif.

Climb on!

Update from the Weekend…

12/30/07: Our instructions were that if we received a phone call at 6:30 this morning the flight to the ice was a go! No call means you sleep in. Of course Brooke and I were both awake staring at the phone.

At 10 am we received an update, another at noon, followed by our last attempt of the day at 6:00 pm. Weather in Antarctica is unfavorable for our ¨V4¨ flight to get in – low visability and snow. So tonight we will get to sleep in a real bed once more and have a shower in the morning. Should we get the call, we have less than 45 minutes to be fully dressed and out in front of the hotel for pick up. Now this doesn’t sound too difficult except that we have to check our street clothes (called ¨town luggage¨), tagged and marked, so that when we return we will have them. This of course is of key importance since you really want things like shampoo and clean clothes as soon as you get back. When notified, we also need to be fully dressed in our climbing clothes with only a small pack for the plane. All our climbing gear, backpacks and technical gear is already loaded on the C130 which is, like us, awaiting that weather window.

So Brooke and I are headed out for a night on the town in Punta Arenas yet again. Don’t worry – we will be in early since tomorrow the anticipation starts all over.

Adios!

Climb On

#5 of the Seven Summits – Mt. Vinson Massif, Antarctica

Punta Arenas, Dec. 28:

Hola from the southern most city in the world!  Brooke and I arrived late last night after over 24 hours of travel.  We met up in Dallas and headed for Santiago, Chile then on to Punta Arenas on a domestic flight.  All of our bags and gear arrived with us which is always a relief as lost luggage and climbing gear can be a disaster and cancel an expedition.  After no sleep, or at least very limited sleep on an airplane, we slept for nearly ten hours last night.  For those who know me well you know this is highly unusual so I must admit to being really tired.

First thing this morning we had to attend a briefing to receive instruction and details for our transport to Antarctica.  Believe me from the pictures this is like nowhere we have ever been before.  In fact, according to the Lonely Planet book only 450 people have climbed Vinson since it was first attempted in 1966.  The briefing was attended by 55 people from all over the world – 50 men and 3 women!  Not just climbers but trekkers, scientists and a two man expedition to the South Pole.  Two British scientists will be spending a month in the Shakelton Range studying isotopes in the rocks and ice as they reflect from the sun.  This is an amazing study as related to global warming.

We will be on ‘V4’ – the fourth flight onto the continent of the season.  We have been advised that we plan to fly out tomorrow morning but all the flights are weather dependant and that V2 had a seven day delay, V3 a two day.  Don’t recall what became of V1, but we are hopeful to be out of here tomorrow.  Sitting next to me as I write this is a delightful girl from China.  She just returned after a two week delay getting off the ice.  She has given me lots of insider tips as to where to sit on the Russian military C130 plane, a formidable beast of an aircraft, no windows and two long benches with all the cargo wrapped in netting in the center.  My Chinese buddy just told me to get on the plane last so you can see out of a little window and because the bench is more comfortable at the end wonder how many others know of this tip?

After the briefing Brooke and I did our gear check and packing.  We are only permitted one bag weighing no more than 55 pounds.  It took us all afternoon to eliminate things we figured we could do without, bummer it is mainly food!  At 4:10 pm sharp we had to have our bags downstairs and put onto a scale, weighed, tagged and marked.  Mine was only slightly over so I ate some gummy bears!  Only kidding!  Got to save those gummies for the top!

Tomorrow morning, if our flight is a go, we will be called at 6:30 am. We have a half an hour to be dressed and ready.  On the plane we will wear our big climbing boots, heavier pants, two top layers, a down jacket and light gloves.  A half hour before landing they turn the heat off on the plane, don’t know the reason for this, but I’ll be sure to find out.  We will then put on our big down suits and be ready to disembark onto the ‘blue ice’, the official landing strip at Patriot Hills.  If the weather is clear we will then fly on a small Cessna to base camp on Mt. Vinson.  If not we will be entertained at Patriot Hills (which sounds rather cosmopolitan for Antarctica).

More updates to follow soon…

Climb On!

Wendy


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About Wendy Booker

In June of 1998, this 55 year old mother of three was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS after experiencing balance problems, blurred vision and numbness on her left side. When first diagnosed, Wendy was devastated. But it took very little time for her to transform anguish into inspiration. She immediately turned her hobby of casual running into a continuous pursuit and has now completed nine marathons.

Mountain climbing became the next conquest. Wendy learned about a team of mountain climbers with Multiple Sclerosis who were attempting to climb Mt. McKinley (Denali) in Alaska. With no previous climbing experience, she dedicated a year to hard training and set off with them in 2002. Although weather conditions prohibited the team from completing, Wendy attempted the summit again in 2004 on her own and she succeeded!

The feeling of accomplishment she experienced propelled her next aspiration: to climb the highest mountain on each continent. Just five years later, Wendy Booker has successfully reached the top of six of The Seven Summits – Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. Vinson Massif and Mt. Kosciuszko. Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on earth, still awaits for 2010.