Dispatches

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:

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:

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:

 

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:

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:

Today the Vinson team made a go at it.  Conrad Anker provides all the details in his sat phone call from High Camp this evening:

Greetings folks, this is Conrad with an update from the Vinson expedition 2020.  Well, it’s the 5th of January.  We’re here at High Camp. We didn’t summit.

 

What gives?  Well, there’s this massive storm coming off the Amundsen Sea – moist, wet air. There’s a lotta catch as that windy howls across flats of Antarctica and then hits the Sentinel Mountains.  In the apex of that is the Ellsworth Range.  So, there we were 11am, we got the radio call with winds of 15 knots, which is kinda good.  But at the same time, as luck would have it, there’s a break in the sky and it’s sunny and it’s calm and so we get motivated and we’re like, we’re gonna strike while the iron is hot and head up there and summit.

 

So, we get out and we get all of our kit ready and we head into the gale.  We get 3/4 of the way there to the final ridge with the wind blowing 40 knots.  And at that point, it was painfully obvious the summit was not in the cards. It was better off that we came down safe and sound. Which is where we are.

 

There’s always a reminder that there are old climbers and bold climbers, but there are no old, bold climbers.  So, we’re a bunch of old climbers.  Happy for the experience, the camaraderie, the friendship, the time spent at the stove, the joy of sawing snow blocks, and the wonders of freeze-dried meals.

 

So, thanks for tuning in.  We’re going to go into hibernation mode here for the next couple of days and see what this storm delivers.  Who knows, maybe we’ll go up again.  But at the very least, we are having fun and that’s why we came to Antarctica – to have fun. And if getting blown by a snowstorm is your type of fun then you’re just like us.

 

So, take care, have fun, and thanks for listening in. This is Conrad signing off.

(photo: Madison Mountaineering archive)

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:

Co-guide, Conrad Anker, reports in from Mount Vinson that it’s another windy day at High Camp.  The team is hunkering down and waiting for a break in the weather for the summit attempt:

Greetings folks! Conrad here from VInson High Camp. It’s the 4th of January 2020.  And guess what? It’s our second full day of storm.

 

Looks like we have a low pressure that is coming off the Amundsen Sea. It’s blowing in from the Northeast. We have winds of a steady 20 knots and it’s about minus 20 celsius, so pretty cold!

 

But our team is psyched. We’re ready. We had a good time out building snow walls for our tents, cutting blocks and visiting with the other team members here – basically biding our time. Because we know if it wasn’t for a storm every now and then, it would be easy and it wouldn’t be mountaineering and we came here for adventure! We came here for Antarctica. I guess we’re getting served up what we came for.

 

Thanks for listening in. Talk to you soon. Take care. Conrad signing off.

(photo: Madison Mountaineering archive)

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 took a windy rest day at High Camp.  Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, provides the details via satellite phone:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Mount Vinson expedition team #2 with co-guide Conrad Anker.

 

We are up at High Camp taking a rest day today. It’s become windy up here at High Camp. It’s been blowing a steady 20 knots today, which is probably too windy for us to climb in and also blowing some spindrift snow. So today we spent the day fortifying our tents, building snow walls around them to protect them from the wind and spindrift. And just enjoying the rest day in camp, had a few good meals, got to tell some stories, and looking forward to some good weather in the future.

 

Hopefully tomorrow or the next day. Although it looks like it might be a couple more days before this wind event passes and calm conditions return to the upper slopes of Mount Vinson. But in the meantime everyone’s doing great, we are in good spirits, having fun, and we’ll check-in tomorrow.  Thanks!

(photo: Madison Mountaineering archive)

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:

After a long day of making the move (+2,500 ft) from Mount Vinson Low Camp up the fixed lines to High Camp, guest guide Conrad Anker, phones in via satellite today’s expedition recap:

Greetings folks, this is Conrad from Vinson High Camp. It’s the 2nd of January 2020. What a great way to welcome in the new year. Our team set out from Low Camp, climbed up the shoulder on the fixed ropes for a little bit, and then some really beautiful terrian and yeah things are great and we have good weather, everyone’s healthy and we’re very thankful for the opportunity to be here with friends. And yeah we’re happy! That’s a good thing. Take care.

(photo: Madison Mountaineering archive)

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:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking maps:

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