All Antarctica expedition dispatches

Aerial View of Union Glacier Camp in Southern Ellsworth Mountains

The team for our first Mount Vinson expedition of the season has arrived at Union Glacier camp in Antarctica and is getting things ready for the flight to Mount Vinson base camp.  Here’s Garrett with the details:

Hello. This is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Mount Vinson expedition. This is the first expedition on Mount Vinson for our season here in Antarctica and yesterday we flew in from Punta Arenas, Chile to Union Glacier camp in Antarctica.

Right now we are in Union Glacier camp, just had a nice dinner. Good day here organizing our gear, and we’re hoping to fly to Mount Vinson tomorrow if the weather is good.  But we’re not quite sure.  It’s a little foggy and cloudy over at Mount Vinson base camp.  So not flying at the moment.

We’re hoping we’ll get an opportunity here in the next few days and be able to get over there and start climbing.  We’re really happy to be here in Antarctica and having a good time here, just relaxing and enjoying the sites at Union Glacier camp and all is well.

So we’ll check in soon.  Thanks!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear our guide’s daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions

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Boarding the Boeing 757 in Punta Arenas. Bound for Union Glacier, Antarctica!

Our first Mount Vinson expedition of the season is just boarding their flight to Antarctica from Punta Arenas, Chile.  Here’s expedition leader Garrett Madison with the details:

Hey!  This is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Vinson expedition – our first one of the season.  We are flight to Antarctica!  We just getting ready to board the Boeing 757 jet here in Punta Arenas.  We are taking off in about a half an hour and we’ll fly for four and a half hours over the Drake Passage to Union Glacier camp in Antarctica, where we’ll spend a couple of nights and then fly over to Vinson base camp and start our climb.

So, we’re very excited that everything’s on schedule here – we’ve got good weather and we’re looking forward to getting to Vinson!  All’s well here and we’ll check-in soon!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear our guide’s daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions

Instagram:

Our Mount Vinson season has kicked off with our first wave of climbers arriving in the historic jump-off city of Punta Arenas, Chile – the largest city south of 46 degrees south.  Here’s expedition leader Garrett Madison with today’s expedition dispatch:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Mount Vinson expedition season.  Today’s Wednesday, December 15th and our first team of Vinson climbers is here in Punta Arenas, Chile.

We’re getting ready for our flight on Saturday to Union Glacier Camp in Antarctica.  After that, we’ve two more Mount Vinson expedition teams.  Hoping for a great season with lots of good weather and great views of the Antarctic continent and Ellsworth mountain range.

Just looking forward to getting down to Antarctica after last year not being able to travel here due to the pandemic, so we’re very thankful and fortunate that we can be here and soon heading to Antarctica.  So, we’ve been enjoying Punta Arenas, seeing the sites here in town, having some great meals, and looking forward to getting our expedition underway.

All’s well here in Punta Arenas, Chile.  We’ll check in soon.  Thanks!

Checking out the Mount Vinson route!

Checking out the Mount Vinson route!


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear our guide’s daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions

Instagram:

Garrett posing on Mount Vinson

Hi!  This is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Antarctica season wrap-up.

 

Well, we had a great season in Antarctica this past month.  We did two Madison Mountaineering Vinson expedition climbs that were successful:  one in late December and one in early January along with co-guide Conrad Anker.  And then I stayed down with Conrad and some of his friends came in and we climbed Vinson in a day via a variation of a new route that Conrad had actually climbed 20 years ago:  The Central Ice Stream on Mount Vinson.

 

After that one day ascent, we skied down most of the mountain and then flew over to Mount Tyree, the second-highest mountain in Antarctica.  Beautiful location — the valley next to Mount Tyree, which has only been climbed a handful of times.  We spent six nights there attempting climb Mount Tyree but did not summit due to very unusual heavy snow conditions and very high avalanche risk up near the summit of Tyree.  We got up fairly high but turned around on our summit day due to the unsafe, unstable snow conditions.

 

Everybody had a great trip.  It was a wonderful season in Antarctica, and we just feel so lucky to have been down there with so many great people and very beautiful and surreal natural beauty surrounding.

 

So, great season and we are looking forward to going back next year.  Please contact us if you would like to consider joining one of our Antarctic programs!

Garrett, Conrad Anker, and Jimmy Chin on the summit of Mount Vinson


By the way, it’s not too early to start making your plans to join us on Mount Vinson for the 2020/2021 season next December!  Contact our office for details.


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

Union Glacier Camp

Here’s Conrad with the final dispatch for the second of our two successful Mount Vinson expeditions for 2019/2020:

Greetings folks, this is Conrad Anker with the final dispatch from Vinson 2020 with Madison Mountaineering. It’s a beautiful sunny day here at Vinson base camp and all the team is safely back at Union Glacier camp. They are awaiting the Ilyushin to fly home.

 

We’ve had a successful expedition. It wasn’t the best of weather, but, as we well know, the strictest teachers are the best teachers. So, we all came away with knowledge, experience, and newfound friends.

 

Thanks for listening in. Stay tuned. Talk to you soon. Bye!

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering archives)

By the way, it’s not too early to start making your plans to join us on Mount Vinson for the 2020/2021 season next December!  Contact our office for details.


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow the teams as they make their attempts to summit the highest mountain in Antarctica on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

Twin Otter aircraft at Vinson Base Camp

Another day at Vinson base camp where the team is keeping themselves entertained while waiting out a change in the weather that will allow the planes to fly:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Mount Vinson climb with Conrad Anker.

 

Well, we had another nice rest day in Mount Vinson base camp and the weather wasn’t good enough for the Twin Otters to fly from Union Glacier camp.  So, we just rested and relaxed here in Vinson base camp.

 

We had a nice, leisurely pancake breakfast this morning and lounged around this afternoon and had a nice salmon, chicken, asparagus, and risotto dinner here in camp, played some music, and then a few members of our team went off to make a few laps on the ski hill here next to Vinson base camp.

 

Everyone’s doing well.  We’re still savoring our summit success and looking forward to hopefully some good weather tomorrow and getting the team back to Union Glacier and onward back to Punta Arenas, Chile and on to home to family and loved ones.

 

So, it’s been a great expedition and we’ll keep our fingers crossed for good weather tomorrow.  All’s well here at Vinson base camp.  We’ll check in soon.  Thanks!

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering archives)

By the way, it’s not too early to start making your plans to join us on Mount Vinson for the 2020/2021 season next December!  Contact our office for details.


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow the teams as they make their attempts to summit the highest mountain in Antarctica on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

Mount Vinson Antarctica

The team is at Vinson base camp waiting for good flying conditions so they can get back to Union Glacier camp.  Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, provides today’s expedition dispatch:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Mount Vinson expedition climb with Conrad Anker. Today, January 9th, we had a rest day in Mount Vinson base camp.

 

We were hoping for good weather and good flying conditions so that the Twin Otters could come from Union Glacier to Vinson and pick up our climbing team to return everyone back to Union Glacier camp but it was foggy here at Vinson base camp. So, instead we relaxed and orginized gear.

 

We had a nice breakfast and then this evening had a fun team dinner and then after dinner Conrad Anker gave a lecture on the discovery of George Mallory on Mount Everest and his 1999 expedition where they found George Mallory on the north side of Everest and also recounted the 2007 recreation of the Mallory and Irvine climb with period specific clothing and equipment. It was a fun day and a fun evening here at Vinson base camp. We had a couple of other teams join us for the lecture and now we’re off to bed.

 

Hopefully on January 10th we’ll have clear skys and good flying conditions so that our climbers can get back to Union Glacier camp and then hopeful catch the Ilyushin jet which is now scheduled for the 11th back to Punta Arenas. But, all’s well here. We’ve had a full value expedition.

 

Everyone’s doing well and in good spirits and we’ll check-in tomorrow. Thanks!

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering December 2019 Vinson team #1)

By the way, it’s not too early to start making your plans to join us on Mount Vinson for the 2020/2021 season next December!  Contact our office for details.


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow the teams as they make their attempts to summit the highest mountain in Antarctica on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

 

Mount Vinson base camp

The team is now safely down to Vinson base camp and Conrad Anker reports on the day in this expedition dispatch:

Greetings sports fans!  This is Conrad calling from Vinson base camp.  It’s the 8th of January 2020.  What a way to start this fresh, new decade.  We’re all back here after a wonderful and adventurious and trying expedition to the summit of Antarctica, Vinson Massif.

 

We had bad weather and a couple clear windows and today we started out at about 6am in a blizzard and we had to pack up camp, and head down to Low Camp, and then all the way back to Vinson base camp.  The team was really excited for everything that went on.

 

What we have now at Vinson base camp is probably about 45 climbers that are all backlogged hoping to get out on a flight tomorrow.  But it’s been foggy and no flights here for the last week to get to Union Glacier, all be it with weather in the mountains.  But our team was happy to have spent six nights at High Camp inside a small tent that turned into a Top Raman sauna everytime we cooked.

 

Taking our changes on less then optimal weather and getting shut down and then coming back to wake up on a beatiful crystal clear day and getting the summit.  So that’s what you come to expeditons for is to challange yourself, to make new friends, to be in scene places, and maybe have a laugh along the way.

 

For all of us here a big shout out especialliy to Roxy – yup that’s her – for her Seven Summits success and everyone else on the team.  So wishing you all the best.  Take care and stay tuned.  Bye

 

By the way, it’s not too early to start making your plans to join us on Mount Vinson for the 2020/2021 season next December!  Contact our office for details.


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow the teams as they make their attempts to summit the highest mountain in Antarctica on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

Today the Vinson team bided their time at High Camp waiting for the weather to clear.  Conrad Anker provides a recap of the day and the plan for tomorrow in this sat phone dispatch:

Greetings folks, this is Conrad Anker from Vinson High Camp.  It’s the 7th of January, 2020.

 

Well, the weather gods, we like them, we honor them, we respect them. After our 15-hour window of good weather where we had the majority of our team make the summit, it came in fast and furious. It was blowing wet snow coming in off the Amundsen Sea. So, we did the right thing, which was to hibernate, sit in our tents, and not go down the ropes, seeing as it was, we could barely see across camp.

 

It’s about 9 o’clock in the evening here local and it’s calm and clear.  Well, it’s clear – it’s still blowing. But relatively calm after these last few days of a steady 20 knots to 25 knots of wind coming from the east. So, it’s looking good.

 

The team is out breaking their tents out of the snow that has kind of cemented them in and getting them ready. We are going to wake up early tomorrow and get down to advanced camp, the Low Camp and then from there head to Vinson base camp.  And, weather permitting, we’ll catch our Twin Otter flights to Union Glacier.

 

And for the team of V4, we’ve had a wonderful time, we’ve made new friends, we’ve experienced the highs and lows that Antarctica has to offer. Pretty much the consensus over our humble fare this evening as we had dinner was that the trying and challenging trips are the ones that leave a lasting memory. So, we’re coming home with lots of memories and we’re thankful to all of you out there in the far reaches of the world that tune in and listen to us.

 

So, this is Garrett and Conrad signing off.  Be well.  Talk to you tomorrow.

(photo: Madison Mountaineering December 2019 Team #1)

By the way, it’s not too early to start making your plans to join us on Mount Vinson for the 2020/2021 season next December!  Contact our office for details.


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow the teams as they make their attempts to summit the highest mountain in Antarctica on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram:

2019.12.16 Vinson Summit

We encourage you to listen to the audio of Conrad Anker’s entertaining sat phone dispatch about today’s activities high on Antarctica’s Mount Vinson:

Greetings folks, it’s the 6th of January 2020 and this is your intrepid journalist/mountaineering Conrad Anker calling from Vinson High Camp.

 

Well, if you listened to yesterday’s dispatch, you kinda got the news that we got hammered by some fierce winds, turned around at the rescue cache, came back to camp with our tails between our legs.  We were humbled – properly.  And the weather forecast was calling for today, the 6th, to be even more fierce and even more big stormy weather with a low coming in from the Amundsen Sea.

 

But then strange things happen in the mountains.  At 6am it was calm, the sound of our tents flapping was replaced with silence.  We poked out – it was a bluebird day.  Nary a gust of wind or anything like that.  We squeaked around camp and Garrett and I look at each other with ear-to-ear smiles and we said, “Let’s go!”

 

The weather forecast, well, never trust electronics, go with your mountaineer sense.  Both Garrett and I felt that we had 12 hours of good weather and that’s what we had.  So our team coalesced and we headed up and we all made it to the summit.  Especially proud of Roxy on the culmination of her Seven Summits.

 

Now we’re here back at camp.  The 12-hour window closed back up and we’re sitting on the anvil as the hammer descends upon us.  But tomorrow we slide down the fixed ropes and ski back to Vinson base content knowing that we set out to do what we came to do, which was climb Vinson.  We’ll keep you posted as more news happens.

 

Thanks for listening in.  Take care!

(photo: Madison Mountaineering 2019 Team #1 summit on 12/27/2019)

By the way, it’s not too early to start making your plans to join us on Mount Vinson for the 2020/2021 season next December!  Contact our office for details.


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow the teams as they make their attempts to summit the highest mountain in Antarctica on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates

Instagram: