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 Alpine Ascents: 2007-2008 Mount Vinson Expedition Updates


January 28, 2008: Todd calling in here for the Sustrugi Five, well the flight from Patriot Hills back to Punta Arenas went smoothly, no problems we boarded around 3:00 in the morning and got to Punta Arenas around 8:00. We had time to shower, had a little nap and had a celebration brunch that was really fun, most of both teams were there, a couple of people were trying to run around and deal with their tickets but most of us had Charles deal with ours and it went smoothly. We traveled all they way to Santiago together and from there we split and went our separate ways, many people were going to LA and some of us to Miami. Everybody should be arriving home soon; by the time you read this most people should be home or just about getting home. It was a great trip, a great season down on Antarctica and we want to thank anybody who watched the cybercast this year and followed our progress up the mountain and hope that you will tune in next year or come down yourselves. (…transmission break…) signing off for the Vinson Season. Bye.

January 26, 2008: Hello there friends, family and loved ones this is Vern Tejas calling in for the Catamatic Crew and guess what we are excited. We had a day of some kiting and kind of lazying around as the wind slowly died down. The wind is finally low enough that they have actually called for the Ilyshin to come in. It is going to be here tomorrow morning bright and early and we are going to get on it. So guess what the Catamatic Crew is on their way home and on there way to you so please stay tuned and we will give you an update once we hit the tip of South America. Ciao for now and thanks for tuning in to all of our cybercasts it has been wonderful having you along with us and we look forward to seeing you again. Next time you will see us from the tip of South America and then hopefully in person. Night night and sweet dreams and we are on our way.

January 26, 2008: Hi Todd calling in for the Sustrugi Five it is 9:35 on the 26th local time here in Antarctica and we have got the message that the Ilyshin is on its way so we are getting out of here. The Ilyshin, if all goes well, should arrive at 1:00 am and we should be arriving in Punta Arenas around 7:00 am on the 27th. We are all hoping that we can get on early flights and get home but we have had a great time, we have had a great success and have a lot (…transmission break…). We are happy to get home and we will see you next year. Bye.

January 26, 2008: Hello Todd calling in for the Sustrugi Five, we are still at Patriot Hills here waiting for the wind to calm down in order for us to get the Ilyshin called in and fly out and come home to all of our friends and family. We are passing the time down here; doing some kite skiing when the wind isn’t too high, playing chess and cards, reading just generally relaxing, eating a lot and putting back on all the fat that we lost while we were on the mountain. Hopefully this won’t last too much longer and we will be able to come home. Stay tuned and we will let you know. Bye.

January 24, 2008: Hello there friends, family and loved ones, Vern Tejas and the Catamatic Crew reporting in from Patriot Hills 2,143 feet above sea level and in the wind. It has been clear and blue skies however we have wind that is so strong that the big bird, the Ilyshin 76 cannot land here at Patriot Hills until the cross wind dies down. It is great for flying kites and great for sharing stories with other people. We had a little jam session tonight, Jim knocked out some blues, I joined in with my harmonica and we kind of rocked the tent so it has been fun but we sure would like to get home to you. So please keep your fingers crossed and keep those prayers coming for some good calm clear weather, that’s what we need now, sweet dreams and ciao for now from the ice.

January 24, 2008: This is Mark calling in with the Sustrugi Five, January 24th we are still at Patriot Hills. Fortunately there (…transmission break…) we are waiting for the Ilyushin to fly we have got crossed winds down at the strip but we are hoping to get out tomorrow. Send our love to all of our families hope to see you soon. Hope to see you soon. Over and out for Sustrugi Five.

January 24, 2008: Hello there friends, family and loved ones this is the Catamatic Crew checking in from Patriot Hills, it is sunny and windy and it is about one in the morning. We were able to fly over after an uneventful waiting game at Vinson base camp. Thank you for your prayers and best wishes because finally the clouds lifted enough to get the Otters in and take us up fly us over to our staging area here at Patriot Hills. Hopefully in the morning it will calm down enough that we can fly the big bird, the Ilyushin which will take us back to South America and then we will be on our way back to you. Stay tuned to the further adventures of the Catamatic Crew, we are thinking of you, ciao for now.

January 24, 2008: Hey this Todd calling in for the Sustrugi Five. Well waited around Vinson base camp all day waiting for the clouds to clear, we even ate dinner. Then around midnight the clouds finally cleared, the plane arrived and we are here now, all sitting at Patriot Hills waiting for the Ilyushin. We set up the tents last night in quite heavy winds, as soon as we got them set up the winds calmed down a bit, Antarctica just wanted to test us one more time. I think we passed the test so hopefully she will calm down and let the Ilyushin fly tomorrow. Stay tuned and we will let you know. Later.

January 23, 2008: Hey there friends, family and loved ones this is the Catamatic Crew calling in from Vinson base camp from 7,143 above sea level and just reporting that the weather sucks. We are trapped here on rats on a doomed ship. We are just hanging out praying for the sun, we are going to do a sun dance here in a little bit so that the light can come in and allow the Twin Otters to come in and take us away to Patriot Hills so that we can catch the Ilyushin plane back to civilization and you. Keep your fingers crossed and keep those good thoughts coming and the whole crew here is thinking of how to get the heck out of here. So please send the good vibes and we are on our way. Ciao for now.

January 23, 2008: Hello this is Todd calling in for the Sustrugi Five today is the 23rd, yesterday on the 22nd we packed up our high camp and moved on down the hill. We were hoping to catch the Otter back to Patriot Hills last night but we ran out of time, didn’t quite make it over there and this morning we woke up to cloudy skies. So we are hoping that it clears up here at Vinson base camp so that we can fly on over to Patriot Hills, they are basically holding off the Ilyushin until this group of folks here at Vinson base camp can fly over and that is when we will be home. So pray for clear skies so that we can come home to you and we will report in hopefully tomorrow from Punta Arenas. See you later.

January 22, 2008: Hello there friends, family and loved ones this is Vern Tejas with the Catamatic Crew on Mt. Vinson calling in to tell you what we are up to. Guess what we did today, it was a very long and arduous descent but it was great to get down to the thick oxygen and the warmer temperatures of Vinson base camp. We are all safety ensconced here but the weather however is not cooperating to allow us to fly over to Patriot Hills but we are having a great time here. We are getting organized and chugging on a couple of beers, the cold one are always welcomed here but that’s always really get here in Antarctica, the cold ones. Please stay tuned for the further adventures and keep your fingers crossed that we get out soon. So ciao for now from Vinson base camp.

January 21, 2008: Hey this is Mark checking in for Sustrugi Five on January 21. The mountain was smiling on us, gave us a super blue bird day today, we had a great climb. Todd took us up the headwall which was a beautiful route. I think that everybody in the group was just awed by the spectacular scenery all around us. The relentless cold though reminded us that we are just visitors here. We all made it to the top; Craig, Steve, Dave, Todd and Mark on a beautiful day, took lots of pictures that we will bring back to everyone. Everyone here on the Team, I know that I speak for them all to say that we appreciate Todd’s wonderful guidance and the support of the Team and getting all us all there and safely back down to our high camp and of course we all very much appreciate and are grateful for the support or at least the tolerance of our families to let us come do these things. So that is Sustrugi Five checking in on January 21, we will call you tomorrow for another check in. Adios for now.

January 21, 2008: Friends, family and loved ones this is the Catamatic Crew checking in from our high camp, the weather finally mellowed out. We ended up with some pretty clear skies today, some clouds floating around but you know what the wind dropped down enough that we actually went for the summit and we made it in good time and good style. We were able to take billions of photos so remember when we get home ask us to see those photos. It was excellent we had good weather on top and were able to give rounds of congratulations and it was one of my better summits. So thank you for staying tuned and following our progress and now all we need to do is see if we can get down safely. So please send your prayers and best wishes, we are thinking of you, lots of love, ciao for now from Antarctica.

January 21, 2008: Friends, family and loved ones, bad news, bad weather. We are holed up again here at high camp, we are just keeping our fingers crossed that it is going to improve soon and hopefully you are keeping your fingers crossed as well. So we are just lying in the tents, sleeping all day other than that just telling old jokes so stand by and we will tell you what the update is for tomorrow. Ciao for now.

January 20, 2008: Todd calling in for the Sustrugi Five at high camp on Mt. Vinson. We had big plans for this morning but they didn’t quite pan out, we woke up to a big lentiuclar cloud over both Mt. Shinn and near the summit of Mt. Vinson, some high winds and really cold temperatures. Instead of going for the summit we sat around in the posh, drank hot drinks and told stories all afternoon. We laughed a lot and it was good to get to know each other but we are ready to go for the summit so hopefully our luck will change here. We are going to have an early dinner tonight and try early again tomorrow. Stay tuned and you will find out what happens next.

January 19, 2008: Hello there this is Todd calling in for the Sustrugi Five from high camp on Mt. Vinson. I mentioned yesterday that there was a possibility of us going for it today but the weather wasn’t quite what we were looking for so we all stayed put here at high camp. We had a long drawn out breakfast of pancakes, fruit and bacon and sat around in the posh just telling stories. The weather is looking better now and everybody is feeling better, we are acclimatized better so I think that tomorrow is going to be our day. So wish us luck and we will be thinking about you and hopefully you will be thinking about us tomorrow.

January 19, 2008: Hey there friends, family and loved ones Vern Tejas reporting in for the Catamatic Crew, we are at high camp and we are looking forward to pushing on to the summit however today was a day of rest and relaxation. We drank, we ate, we slept and built millions and millions of red blood cells to acclimatize for the big push coming up tomorrow. Everybody is in good health and just ready to go so please stay tuned so that you can follow our ascent to the summit of Antarctica. Ciao for now, sweet dreams.

January 18, 2008: Hello there friends, family and loved ones this is the Catamatic Crew calling in from high camp. It was a big day today up the headwall and on the fixed line and lots of weight slowly with lots of breathing we worked our way up the hill. The weather stayed fairly good for us, just an intermittent sun breaking through the clouds so it wasn’t too hot. The wind stayed low so it wasn’t too cold. We pushed up and now we are ensconced in bed with dreams of the summit in our head. Stay tuned to the further adventures of the Catamatic Crew. Ciao for now.

January 18, 2008: Hello this is Todd calling in for Team Sustrugi Five, we are at high camp on Mt. Vinson. It is a beautiful day today, it is a little chilly but we are alright. We have had some great views of Mt. Shinn, the clouds are coming in and out. We made it into camp in great form, everyone was feeling super when we got here. We had a great dinner and now we are just sitting around telling stories. Our plan is to rest tomorrow but it is so beautiful right now that we will let you know tomorrow if that plan changes. We are thinking that if the weather is as beautiful as it is this evening then we will go for it. People are tuckered right now so we won’t make that decision until morning. I know that it has been a long drawn out explanation of what’s going on but we are all doing well and happy (…transmission break…). You guys wish us luck and we will call in tomorrow and let you know what happened. Bye.

January 17, 2008: Hello there friends, family and loved ones, this is the Catamatic Crew calling in from camp 1 at about 10,143 feet above sea level. We had a great acclimatization day today, we studied how to make anchors bypasses for running the fixed line which is going to be our biggest occupation tomorrow, we practiced that both going up and going down, we were actually able to run over to the fixed line and do a little practice there. Then we went on a little hike over to the Col that looks down on the pyramid to the north west of us, that was fun little afternoon trot. Everybody seems to be feeling a lot better when we are not working with a load however with that in mind tomorrow we are going to be pretty heavy as we move up to camp 2. So stick around and pay attention and we will tell you what is happening tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather and sweet dreams. Ciao for now.

January 17, 2008: Hey this is Todd Passey’s group, we are now called the Sustrugi Five, we are calling in from Camp 1. We took a rest day today, hiked around a little bit, got to see the sights. It is getting a little bit colder but everyone is doing great. Tomorrow we are going to head up to high camp which will be about a 3,500 foot climb, we are looking at a long day but are eager to get higher on the mountain. Everyone is doing great, we all send our love to our families. Were out

January 16, 2008 : Hey there Friends, Family and Loved Ones, this is Vern Tejas reporting in from Vinson. The team has arrived and we have moved up; we’re at camp 1. We’re calling ourselves the Catamatic Crew so from now on you can stay tuned to the Catamatic Crew, which consists of Johan, David, and Jim, as well as myself, Vern. We’re doing fine. It’s been a big day, however. We pushed up with light sleds, but they felt heavy all the way. We pulled out at about 11:50 this morning and arrived up here at about 6:00. About 6 hours on the trail, made good time, however, the sun came out and baked our brains, but fortunately then cloud cover to over. No wind, smooth sailing, and pretty much just what we expected. Everyone is feeling just a little tonked, but tomorrow is going to be a rest day. Stay tuned to the adventures of the Catamatic Crew! Ciao for now.

January 16, 2008 : Hello this is Todd Passey calling in from camp 1 on Mt. Vinson. We flew in late yesterday evening; we had dinner, organized some gear, got up early this morning and started walking. We were feeling so great that we decided to pass up camp ½ and go straight to camp 1. Both Vern’s group and my group are at camp 1, safe and sound. We have got the stoves going, tents up and we are able to hunker down for the night and eat a good meal. Our plan for tomorrow, we are not sure, we might take a rest day, we might go up. So we will keep you in suspense and check in tomorrow to see if we have moved up the mountain or taken a rest day. Talk to you later.

January 15, 2008 : Hello there this is Todd calling in from Patriot Hills, our new group arrived last night around midnight and we had a great meal cooked for us by ALE. The out going group was kind enough to set up our tents for us, all except for one so it was pretty easy moving in. We woke up this morning to a beautiful day here at Patriot Hills and both of the Otters are flying today so we are on the third group in. Two groups are loading up right now on each Otter so in about three hours we should heading on out to Vinson base camp unless anything drastically changes. We are all happy to be here, healthy and we send out our love and wish us good luck on our up coming climb. We will talk to you later.

January 14, 2008 : A note from the office: The Alpine Ascents Vinson Team that was waiting in Punta Arenas to fly to Antarctica departed Chile around 6Pm local time and is on their way to Patriot Hills.

January 14, 2008 : Hello there friends, family and loved ones this is Vern Tejas calling in for all of Alpine Ascents Vinson Trips, we are still located in Vinson base camp 7,143 feet above sea level and we are still praying for good weather. We have been occupying ourselves with a couple of little climbs going on, some sledding, some trekking around the camp as well as doing some balancing on the slack line. We have still been able to feed ourselves well and we have got plenty of fuel however were are running out of our patience, people are getting a little antsy to go as you might well expect. We want to come home to you so keep your fingers crossed and we will keep trying to get out of here. Ciao for now.

January 11, 2008 : Hello there friends, family and loved ones this is the Team on Vinson calling in from base camp, we are stuck here like rats on a sinking ship. The wind is coming up, the clouds are coming down and we can’t get out. We want you to send all of your good wishes and keep your fingers crossed for better weather so that we can get at least to Patriot Hills before the Ilyushin flies. Right now it looks like it might be several days away because the weather is ganging up on us. We understand at Patriot Hills that the wind is blowing so bad that they can’t fly the Twin Otters which are incredible planes so here we are at base camp thinking of you and wanting to come home. So blow the wind away and we also want to say clear the snow. So ciao for now at Vinson base camp.

January 8, 2008 : Hey there friends, family and loved ones this is Alpine Ascents International, standing on top of Mt. Vinson, the highest point in Antarctica. The international team is standing on the summit right now, its warm, its cold and we are having a great time you can’t believe it. We are looking around, well we are kind of surrounded by a bunch of clouds but the sun is burning through. We have had a wonderful day, seven hours to the top, it has been incredible. Everyone has been breathing and everyone has been working very hard, drinking, staying on top of all their maintenance and now we are celebrating on top of Antarctica. Lots of photos, lots of hugs, lots of handshakes, wish you were here. (cheers of excitement) What a wonderful time to be here. Winslow’s Japanese Team just left the summit and Todd is coming up with the Taiwanese Team and they should be here any moment now, should be great. So we all made the summit and we are heading down, keep your fingers crossed for good weather on the way down. Love you all, ciao for now.

January 7, 2008 : Hey there friends, family and loved ones this is Alpine Ascents Vinson IV climb, calling in for all three groups, Vern Tejas here. We had a wonderful rest day, we spent most of eating, drinking, sleeping and making music; we actually had an all-star band rocking in the posh house just before dinner time, it was wonderful. The weather has turned though, instead of being clear and calm its now windy and whiteout, gusting quite often, enough that we have had to reinforce our tent pole in our posh house. Winslow got a little extracurricular activity as she went to search for another team that was lost in the whiteout. However they have now made their way back and all is well, all members are accounted for. Our team is tucking in early this evening in hopes that the weather is climbable in the morning. Keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned to the further adventures of Alpine Ascents Vinson climb. Ciao for now.

January 6, 2008 : Hello there friends, family and loved ones, Vern Tejas calling in for all three Alpine Ascents teams on Mt. Vinson right now. Team Got to Go calling in from high camp along with the Taiwanese Team and the Japanese Team. We are all up here at high camp at 4,000 meters above sea level, that’s 13, 143 feet above sea level for all of us Americans. We just wanted to say that it has been a fabulous day, it has been clear and calm and wonderfully warm, we were down to our long johns today coming up the headwall, up the fixed line. We got some great photos and everybody is in high spirits, we are tired though, quite tuckered out from moving our whole camp up here but tomorrow we are planning on taking a rest day. Stay tuned to the further adventures of climbing Mt. Vinson. Ciao for now.

January 5, 2008 : Hello there friends, family and loved ones, Vern Tejas calling in for all three Alpine Ascents teams on Mt. Vinson right now. Team Got to Go, the Taiwanese Team and the Japanese Team are all at second camp at around 10,000 feet above sea level. We all made the carry up to high camp, over a 3000 feet vertical above us today. We had reasonably good weather; it was cloudy in the morning which was perfect because it kept us from getting too hot. Then the sun came out and it is just beaming down on us right now. It is almost 2:00 in the morning and it feels really hot right now, the air temperature is probably about 10 or 20 degrees below zero but with no wind and the sun beaming down on us and the snow reflecting it, it is actually quite warm in the tents. So as soon as that sun swings behind the mountain it will drop down and we will be happy to have these negative forty degree bags. In the meantime we are all doing good, tired from a very big carry up the fixed line. We had a great day and just know that if the weather holds we will be moving up to high camp tomorrow. Ciao for now and sweet dreams from everyone on Mt. Vinson.

January 4, 2008 : Hello there friends, family and loved ones this is Team Got to Go, Vern Tejas calling in for all three teams. We have moved up from camp 1 all the way to camp 2, we are now parked on the corner of the Windy Corner and the Death Valley. We are going to take the short cut up to the fixed line and we are looking to get fuel and food up to the high camp. In the meantime we are firmly entranced in a beautiful campsite here on a warm sunny clear day. We have moved up here to around 3,000 meters above sea level at about 10,000 feet, actually about 10,104 feet to be in the ballpark. We just wanted to tell you that we are thinking about you and everybody is good. That’s Winslow with her group of Japanese climbers and Todd with his group of Taiwanese climbers, everybody is in good spirits. We are looking forward to more good weather and climbing this mountain, so stay tuned to the further adventures of the Alpine Ascents climb of Mt. Vinson. Ciao for now.

January 3, 2008
Hello there friends, family and loved ones this is the Alpine Ascents Mt. Vinson climb calling in, guess what, the weather finally broke, we finally got out of Patriot Hills. Today we flew across Antarctica another 120 miles back to the Elleswood Mountain Range, to Vinson base camp. We did it in three waves and all parties are now on the glacier. We have been able to climb to our first camp at 3,700 feet above sea level and we are very happy to be here. We just had some macaroni and cheese and a little salmon on the side and everybody is now tucked in. The sun has just gone behind the ridge and the temperature is plummeting so we are burying down into our Feathered Friends bags and wishing you warm and happy evening. We are planning on moving up tomorrow if the weather holds so keep your fingers crossed for us and we will see you up at our next camp. Ciao for now from Antarctica.

January 1, 2008 : Hello there friends, family and loved ones this is Team Got To Go calling in from Patriot Hills, Latitude 80 South and Longitude 81 West, way down south, we are about 600 miles from the South Pole. We are in a holding pattern here, we are waiting for weather to clear at Vinson Base Camp so that our pilots can fly in safely, we understand there are some clouds floating around. In the meantime, we are studying our knots, laying anchors, going over pulley theory and having a great old time enjoying the New Year, we hope that you are too. So Happy New Year to everybody and keep your fingers crossed for good weather. Ciao for now.

December 31, 2007 : Hi this is Winslow calling in for the Trunk Monkey, everyone flew out safely yesterday, we were able to fly out from base camp and a few hours later catch the Ilyushin back to Punta Arenas. I am staying down here for another trip. We felt very fortunate to have such a great group of guys, they really did awesome, they are very hard workers and very helpful and we had a really good time on the mountain. Some folks took down the time to write down some things that they wanted to say about the trip.

This is from Michael: Things that I will always remember, hiking in the Torres del Paine Park, seeing the beauty of Antarctica for the first time, sharing an incredible Christmas Dinner on the Mountain with new friends, talking with family via SAT phone during a rest day at high camp and standing on the summit of Mt. Vinson on a wondrous day, seeing all the mountains and ice stretched all the way to the horizon.

This is from Simon: Dear friends and family, we had a wonderful time although on reflection it was an easier climb than many had imagined, we were lucky and happy to take our luck. We were glad to avoid high winds and super low temperatures on summit day. But as it was, the climb was a great challenge, Vinson possibly known as 16,064 feet offered an easy ascent for the weekend climber and a distinct atmosphere of the poles. Looking forward to seeing you all and I am sure that before long you will all be bored of this talk but the pictures and scenery here are out of this world.

This is from Martin: We had a tremendous trip up Vinson; the weather was spectacular on summit day with no wind and only minus 20 degrees celsius, which was unheard of. Our guide Winslow was bliss, very knowledgeable about the mountain and climbing in general and the best cook that I have ever had on the mountain (thanks Marin- Winslow).

I think that Serge’s write up is either MIA or maybe he was out socializing in camp and didn’t get in on that one, he had a great time as well. Todd’s group also summitted and everything went really well, Carole also made it to the summit and did a great job, had a good time and is safe and everyone is back in Punta and on there way home. We appreciate everyone tuning in, hope you have a great New Years Eve, ciao.

December 29, 2007 Hi this is Winslow with the Trunk Monkeys on Mt. Vinson. We had another great day today, we woke up to beautiful calm sunny day and descended all the way down to basecamp, as we descended we entered into some clouds so there was no flying going on today. It is actually really pretty out now and we had great views from basecamp. We had a large meal of hamburgers, salmon, fish, french fries and stir fry veggies, now everyone is in their tents going to sleep and hoping that the plans can fly tomorrow. We will keep you informed on how things are going, as long as the weather is good everyone should be able to fly back to Patriot Hills and hop a ride on the Ilyushin if it makes its way in. It is on standby, waiting for a weather window as well. Everyone is in high spirits and doing great so you we will keep you informed.

December 28, 2007 : Hi this is Winslow with Trunk Monkeys and we are at High Camp here on Mt. Vinson. We had a real amazing summit day today. The best Todd and Vern have ever seen in almost thirty times of summiting Vinson. Everyone did great. We made it up and down safely. We had great views and a very enjoyable day. Everyone is pretty tired now. We are going to rest tonight, get up early and head down to the runway and hopefully be able to fly back to Patriot Hills. We may even all the way back to Punta Arenas if the weather is nice. People should be flying back if everything works out perfectly, that’s what would happen. But we will see what the weather does. Everyone is looking forward to seeing friends and family. Thanks for tuning in! Ciao.

December 27, 2007 : Dec 27 Hello this is Michael calling from the Alpine Ascents International Vinson climb. Our team is named the Trunk Monkeys, yesterday we had a great day coming up the fixed ropes. We had about 1000 meters and moved up from our Camp I to Camp II. Camp II is our high camp and today is our rest day. We just finished building snow walls to fortify our tents – in case the winds pick up later on – it was also a good little work out for us. We are going to have a great dinner here in a couple of hours and prepare fro our summit attempt – hopefully tomorrow morning. So wish us good luck and of course you have all of our best wishes and love to our families and friends and look forward to calling back with news of success. This is Michael from Alpine Ascents Trunk Monkeys out.

December 26, 2007 : Dec 26 Hello this is Michael calling in for the Alpine Ascents Mt. Vinson team – checking in and letting you know we made it to camp I – pulling some sleds up behind us – we had a wonderful x-mas eve mail with Hamburgers, fries, wine and ice cream – we moved x-mas day . and carried to camp II ( about 1000 meters) – returned to one and had steaks, vegetables risotto and the rest of the ice cream – better eating than expecting on a climbing trip – today we will move to high camp – then a rest day and summit bid. We hope to cal in just before the summit bid. This is Michael for Alpine Ascents Vinson – out

December 22-26, 2007 : Dec 21 This is cybercast from Vinson, Serge calling in for Winslow. We had a very relaxed day at Patriot – no flights today – we were kiting and Winslow and Simon had a hike around the hill. We had a lot of chess games . I want to say Happy Birthday to my girlfriend Aneete, and say hello to whole friends and family from Antarctica – hope to talk to you soon. Dec 22 – Hi this is Winslow calling in for the Trunk Monkeys. It is a beautiful day in Patriot. Though we are not flying yet, as the plane is going to the South Pole and we have a 80% chance of flying – we did have the chance to hike around to the op of Patriot Hills. It’s about 4500 feet up there with a 2000 foot elevation gain. And a few kilometers to get to the base of the hill. A beautiful view from the top – absolutely windless and 360 degree views from the top – we can see ice fields, snowy peaks, rocky peaks we got to walk on the rock and touch the continent – that was an exciting hike – having lunch and resting -= taking in the view and now I presume the chess matches will start back up – that’s been popular along with reading and we hope to fly to Vinson base camp tomorrow – wish us luck Dec 23 – Hi this is Winslow calling for the Trunk Monkeys – I’m watching the Otter take Todd and all the climbers to Vinson Base Camp – I’ll be an hour behind the group but the weather is perfect – I can see peaks in 3 different directions from here and cirrus clouds in the distance – but I hope to get to BC soon and move to ½ camp about 4 hours climb – set up camp – it will be late night – we’re excited and check in soon. Dec 25 – This is the Trunk Monkeys calling in for the Mt. Vinson team. Everything is good at Vinson base camp – we had a great hike up to ½ camp – all feeling well and Merry x-mas to all – hopefully we will move slowly up to the next camp. Dec 26 We are at Camp I – doing great and looking to move to next camp.

Hi this is Winslow for the Trunk Monkeys – we are stuck here at Patriot Hills, Antarctica. It’s been snowing most of the day, pretty warm at minus 5 degrees Celsius, it’s usually minus 12 degrees at this time of the year. Quite a bit warmer then normal with much more snow then usual. It hasn’t been too boring as we got out and practiced fixed line ascending and descending – we watched the volleyball game and there was also a marathon – trudging through deep snow – we’re reading, kiting , eating good food and hanging out – we’ll keep our fingers crossed for tomorrow and send love to friends and family – ciao

December 19, 2007 : Hi this is Winslow calling in. I have some good news and some more good news. We have a team name. We are the Trunk Monkeys. We also flew into Patriot hills today. We have just arrived and had dinner and received our briefing. Now we are about to set up tents as we cannot fly this evening because it’s cloudy at Vinson base camp. We’ll be staying here at Patriot Hills this evening, hoping to fly into Vinson base camp tomorrow morning. We didn’t get to fly in earlier this morning, but we did leave around 2 o’clock so we actually got to sleep in. We didn’t have to do the early wake up. Every body’s doing great. It’s actually pretty warm here. It’s only -5 degrees Celsius. We had to lay her down hiking over here from the airplane over here to Patriot Hills, which is about a 15 minute walk. We’re doing great, excited to be down here on the continent of Antarctica. We’ll give you a call tomorrow and let you know if we make it into base camp. Ciao.

December 18, 2007 : Hi this is Winslow calling in the Vinson climbing team. Today is Tuesday and we are heading back to Punta Arenas. The other team that was ahead of us flew out today so we are hoping that the weather will hold and we will be able to fly out tomorrow morning. We had a beautiful foray up to the Torres del Paine National Park, we really lucked out with the weather and had a beautiful hiking day yesterday. We hiked five miles or so up to this beautiful glacial lake just below the Torres Mountains and had great weather and great views all day. A lot of the hike was along side a river, with lots of ups and downs, we also had to hike up a steep bolder field to get up to the lake and some people took a swim when we got up there. We had a nice lunch then we came back down to our little recurso that we are staying in. This morning we visited two different water falls and we also saw a family of fox with three babies and we were able to watch them play for a little while. It has been a great visit up here to the park and we are keeping our fingers crossed that we are going to be able to fly out tomorrow. Thanks for tuning in and we will keep you posted. Ciao.

December 17, 2007 : Hola, this is Winslow calling in for the Mount Vinson crew. We are in the Torres Paine National Park. We’re enjoying taking a few days off from being able to leave with our weather forecast as it is. They gave us a three day leave so we’re here in the park enjoying that. Yesterday we drove up and saw many of the park’s wildlife. We saw condors, guanacos, flamingos, and various other birds along the way. We stopped and had lunch in a town called Puerto Natales, which is on a large very beautiful lake. We had some great seafood there and just enjoyed the trip up. We’re staying in Refugio, which is also very nice. We’re taking a four hour hike today to a lake at the base of the Torres Paine Mountain. Everyone is doing great. We’re still working on a team name. We’ll get back to you with that. Thanks for tuning in. We’ll let you know how our arctic experience is going.

December 15, 2007 : Hello from Punta Arenas from the first Alpine Ascents crew attempting to reach the ice. Everyone made it here safely and with all baggage on board. We have a great group of climbers including; Martin Grieder (Switzerland), SimonIrish (New York), Michael Hsu (California), and Serge Massad (Ontario). The guides are Todd and Winslow Passey (Utah).

We had our logistical meeting this morning with ALE (Antarctica Logistics Expiditions), the company that carries us all down to this mystical continent. It included a very interesting slide show, instructions of do´s and don´ts (such as lying on the runway to take a photo as a plane fly´s in), and tea and biscuits to wash it down.

Unfortunately, the weather is not cooperating, and we have flight delays. There is a group ahead of us waiting to fly in as well. It has been snowing in Patriot Hills, dumping 20-30cm of fresh snow on the runway, that must be cleared before landing. This process takes 36hr. after the wind stops to remove the snow. Most groups have retreated from high camp, and are hunkering down at base camp.

With a forecaster predicting the weather for ALE this season, they have given us a 72hr. release of check in responsibilities. This means we do not have to stay in Punta Arenas, so we are arranging a trip out to Torres Del Paine National Park. We hope to get in a hike and a few good views of the towering granite peaks and the picturesque glacial lakes.

Everyone says hello to their friends and family! Go Navy! (from Michael)!! We´ll keep you posted, but it does not look like we can fly until Thursday at the earliest.

 

 
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