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Today Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd reached the summit of Antarctica at 4,892 meters (16,050 ft). With clear skies our team enjoyed spectacular 360 degree views! A truly “magical” experience. Mount Vinson is more than 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) from the South Pole, making it the most remote of the Seven Summits. It was also the last discovered, last climbed, and last named of the Seven Summits. Mount Vinson is named for U.S. Representative Carl Vinson of Georgia, who served in Congress from 1935 to 1961 and was the former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. He was a influential lobbyist for government funding of American exploration in Antarctica. After an early morning summit push, Garrett and team were able to make it to the summit and enjoy the stabilized weather conditions which the team took advantage of. Now resting at Camp 2 with moderate winds, the team is preparing for tomorrows continued descent toward Union Glacier Camp.

Great job team!!

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Audio Dispatch from Garrett Madison ~ Sunday, December 6

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Garrett and team approaching the highest peak in Antarctica, at 4,892 meters (16,050 ft)!

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 11.54.05 PM

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Summit of Mount Vinson!

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 11.54.16 PM

Today Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd reached the summit of Antarctica at 4,892 meters (16,050 ft). With clear skies our team enjoyed spectacular 360 degree views! A truly “magical” experience. Mount Vinson is more than 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) from the South Pole, making it the most remote of the Seven Summits. It was also the last discovered, last climbed, and last named of the Seven Summits. Mount Vinson is named for U.S. Representative Carl Vinson of Georgia, who served in Congress from 1935 to 1961 and was the former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. He was a influential lobbyist for government funding of American exploration in Antarctica. After an early morning summit push, Garrett and team were able to make it to the summit and enjoy the stabilized weather conditions which the team took advantage of. Now resting at Camp 2 with moderate winds, the team is preparing for tomorrows continued descent toward Union Glacier Camp.

Great job team!!

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Audio Dispatch from Garrett Madison ~ Sunday, December 6

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Garrett and team approaching the highest peak in Antarctica, at 4,892 meters (16,050 ft)!

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 11.54.05 PM

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Summit of Mount Vinson!

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 11.54.16 PM

Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd are currently climbing to the summit of Antarctica! Mount Vinson is the highest peak in Antarctica, at 4,892 meters (16,050 ft). It lies in the north part of Vinson Massif’s summit plateau in the south portion of the main ridge of the Sentinel Range. Yesterday our climbing team set up Camp 2 as their staging point for the summit push. Waking up at 7am Garrett and team prepared to depart for the summit. Weather reports show terrific weather conditions and clear skies for our team. To the top!

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Audio Dispatch from Garrett Madison ~ Sunday, December 6

 

The team enjoyed bright, clear, and sunny conditions on the Branscomb Glacier today! This beautiful  antarctic glacier flows west from the north-west side of Vinson Massif into Nimitz Glacier, in the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains. Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd made use of the change in weather conditions and continued the ascent up Mount Vinson. Temperatures have increased considerably which allowed our team to enjoy the scenery in the near 24 hours of sunshine! Garrett and team safely traversed the fixed lines and transported gear up to the top of the Branscomb Glacier in preparation for moving to Camp 2 tomorrow. After a successful day, our climbing team enjoyed salmon, pork chops, french fries and vegetables. Eating well and storing up high quality energy for the upcoming summit push! Garrett and team plan to climb to Camp 2 tomorrow and make a summit push in 2-3 days depending on the upcoming weather conditions. Forecasts show for low winds and warmer temperatures. To the top!

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Audio Dispatch from Garrett Madison ~ Friday, December 4

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Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd successfully executed a carry up the Branscomb Glacier. Tomorrow the team will climb back up the fixed lines and set up Camp 2!

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Today Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd spent the day exploring vast glaciated slopes on Mount Vinson. With crampons and fixed lines our team reviewed the crucial skills that will be used in the upcoming summit push. Camp 1 has been established and fortified to endure the elements, keeping our team warm and safe tonight. Garrett and team continue to enjoy the adventure of exploring Antarctica as they make their way up Mount Vinson. Weather has been stable today and forecasts predict the same tomorrow. The climate on Mount Vinson is generally controlled by the polar ice cap’s high-pressure system, creating predominantly stable conditions but, as in any polar climate, high winds and snowfall do occur quickly. Tomorrow our team plans to do a carry of gear up to Camp 2. To the top!

Interesting fact:  In 1961, the Vinson Massif was named by the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names, for Carl G. Vinson, a Georgia congressman for his support for Antarctic exploration.

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Audio Dispatch from Garrett Madison ~ Thursday, December 3

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Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd ventured out from Camp 1 and enjoyed the spectacular glacier views around them!

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Breathtaking NASA image of Vinson Massif from space! The limited amount of snow that falls on Vinson Massif compacts and is transformed into ice, forming the glaciers our team is climbing on.

800px-Vinson-Massif

Hope everyone had a great Halloween weekend! We said good bye to our trekking team that accompanied us all the way from our start in Kathmandu to our base camp here at Gokyo’s fifth lake. It was hard to say goodbye after the last ten days of trekking together in the Khumbu region of Nepal. They are now heading towards Cho La Pass and then onwards to Mount Everest base camp before returning to Lukla and then Kathmandu.
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Our climbing team organized equipment at base camp today and took a walkabout around camp, scouting the glacier we will cross when we make our move towards our advanced base camp on our summit push. Our base camp is a very beautiful setting, with a nearby lake, and high peaks on all sides. A team of our Sherpa guides along with Madison Mountaineering guide Sid Pattison left today to head to advanced base camp. Tomorrow they will work on establishing the route to camp 1, at the top of the rock buttress, the first major technical section of the climb. This climbing involves around two thousand feet of steep snow and an ice arête (description and imagery here), after which we can establish our first high camp. Everyone is doing well and we look forward to our next acclimatization hike tomorrow.
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View of glacier above camp:
BK1
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Acclimatization hike:
BK2
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View of Mount Everest from our base camp:
BK3
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Burke Khang Base Camp:
BK1102
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Team exploring near base camp:
IMG_4282