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Hey this is Garrett Madison calling in for the ski the last degree to the South Pole team. Today is our second day on our ski journey, we started off from camp at about 9am and skied till about 3pm this afternoon. That’s all daylight, 24/7 down here. Had a good ski today and we got to 89.07 degrees and we are going to 90. We are still probably 6-7 days out from the South Pole minimum. Everyone is doing well, we had a little wind today. The team is strong and feeling good. We had dinner and are tucked in to bed for a good nights rest then get in another day of skiing tomorrow. Hope all goes well on the other side, we will check in soon. One final note we did see a kite today that we believe is Mike Horn. Mike Horn is from South Africa who has been skiing from the coast to the South Pole. I believe we are the first sign of human life that he has seen in the last couple months, it was fun to see Mike Horn on the kite. We will check in again soon.

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South Pole Team 2017

South Pole Team 2017

Hello this is Garrett calling in it is Wednesday, January 4 for the ski last degree team. Today we were dropped off in a DC 3 Basler aircraft after flying from Union Glacier Camp about four and a half hours down towards the South Pole at the 89th degree. We skied for about an hour, about one mile, and set up camp and now we are tucked in camp and just had dinner and getting ready for bed. Tomorrow our plan is to get up around 7 and head out by 9 and ski for a full day and cover some of the distance between here and the South Pole, which is about 60 nautical miles away, around 110 kilometers. We are happy to be here beautiful weather blue skies a horizon of ice as far as the eye can see in every directions, everyone is having a great time. We will check in again tomorrow. Thanks.

Garrett Madison

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Preparing team gear for the high adventure ski trip

Preparing team gear out of the DC3 Basler aircraft

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ski last degree team

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South Pole 2017.1

Ski Last Degree Team

The weather looks optimal today for our flight from Punta Arenas Chile to Antarctica so we are making final preparations before we board our aircraft this evening, an Illushyn 76. The flight will take about 5 hours to cover the nearly 2000 miles from Punta Arenas to Union Glacier camp, Antarctica, also near Mount Vinson. Once we arrive in camp we will organize equipment for the first objective, skiing the last degree (60 nautical miles or 110 km) to the South Pole. If everything goes according to plan we should reach the South Pole by January 12. After a celebration at the Pole, we will fly by DC 3 aircraft back to Union Glacier camp, where 5 members of the team will then continue via the Illushyn 76 for transport back to Chile. Eight of us will stay at Union Glacier camp and then fly by twin otter aircraft to Mount Vinson base camp, just a 45 minute flight. We will utilize 2 high camps above base camp before making a summit attempt on Antarctica’s highest peak. After climbing Mount Vinson we will fly back to Union Glacier camp and then onward to Chile and then home. Please follow our daily updates with live tracking of the team while in Antarctica.

Garrett Madison

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Punta Arenas, Chile

Our journey begins in the Tierra del Fuego or ‘Land of Fire’ in Chile’s southernmost city of Punta Arenas, located on the straight of Magellan. A large statue of the famous explorer towers over the town square. Legend has it that those who kiss the statue are destined to return!

Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd have taken-off from the blue ice runway and successfully bring to an end their Vinson Massif expedition. In three weeks our climbers have traversed the earth’s southernmost continent, scaled polar glaciers across the Sentinel Range, and summited one of the world’s 7 Summits. Our team was a part of aviation history the moment they touched down on the first Boeing 757 in Union Glacier Camp, Antarctica. In total, our tour team traveled the skies on a Boeing 757, Russian Ilyushin Il-76, DHC-6 Twin Otter, and a Douglas DC3. Pretty impressive!

Congratulations to Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd for reaching new high’s, I hope the journey is onward and upward for all. Enjoy the photos taken by Garrett Madison below 🙂

“Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”
― David McCullough Jr.

Thanks for following!

-Andrew

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About to leave Antarctica on the Ilushin 76.

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Building snow walls to fortify our tents, Todd carrying a big snow block.

Building snow walls to fortify our tents, Todd carrying a big snow block

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Climbing the fixed ropes, Michael in front, Sam behind.

Climbing the fixed ropes, Michael in front, Sam behind

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Climbing the fixed ropes.

Climbing the fixed ropes

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Good times in the cook tent, Inaki & Mike.

Good times in the cook tent, Inaki & Mike

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Onboard the twin otter leaving Vinson Base Camp, MIchael, Sam, Todd, Inaki, Garrett.

Onboard the twin otter leaving Vinson Base Camp, MIchael, Sam, Todd, Inaki, Garrett

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Our MH Trango Tents holding up well in Antarctica!

Our MH Trango Tents holding up well in Antarctica

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Our MH Trango tents holding up well on the mountain.

Our MH Trango tents holding up well on the mountain

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Sam cooking french fries!

Sam cooking french fries

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Team at base camp, Garrett, Mike, Todd, Sam, Inaki

Team at base camp, Garrett, Mike, Todd, Sam, Inaki

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Team at Vinson Base Camp.

Team at Vinson Base Camp

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Team on the summit, Garrett, Todd, Michael, Sam!

Team on the summit, Garrett, Todd, Michael, Sam

 

Yesterday Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd had the opportunity to interact with other Antarctic explorers as well as scientists doing meaningful research in their fields at Union Glacier Camp. Enjoying a few days of R&R as this journey of a lifetime comes to an end. Warm meals and cold drinks with lots of really nice people from around the world. Tomorrow we plan to fly out on the Russian Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft back to Punta Arenas, Chile. The team is doing well and will check in tomorrow before take-off!

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Audio Dispatch from Garrett Madison ~ Friday, December 11th

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Union Glacier Camp

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Google Maps image showing key locations.

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Over the past four days our Mount Vinson climbing team has been pinned by high winds on the mountain. With gail force winds reaching over 50 knots, Garrett and team have decided to wait out the weather and enjoy an extended stay on the tallest mountain in Antarctica. Currently Garrett and team have the whole mountain to themselves, as they are the only team on the mountain the last four days. Shoutout to Mountain Hardwear for the field tested Trango 3 expedition tent for withstanding these conditions over the past four days. Our team has also put to use the extremely warm Ghost -40 degree F sleeping bags which have kept our team nice and cozy throughout the day. Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd have plenty of food and fuel and are making the most of their adventure of a lifetime. Tomorrow the forecast is calling for reduced winds down to 25 knots, which will allow our team to make the descent down to Vinson Base Camp. Onward!

For family and friends of the climbers, I can be reached at any point in regard to this expedition at andrew@madisonmountaineering.com

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Audio Dispatch from Garrett Madison ~ Wednesday, December 9

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Mountain Hardwear Trango 3 expedition tents at High Camp on Mount Vinson, keeping our team warm and safe!

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Today Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd took a rest day at high camp after their summit ascent yesterday. The team had a beautiful summit day with gorgeous views and no wind, allowing the whole team to make it to the top. Once Garrett and team arrived back at Camp 2 the winds picked up considerably and the team decided to enjoy a rest day instead of making the descent with high winds. Depending on tomorrow’s conditions the team will climb down to Mt. Vinson base camp, but could end up staying 2-3 additional days in order to make a safe descent. Our team has plenty of food and fuel and will be checking in tomorrow!

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Audio Dispatch from Garrett Madison ~ Monday, December 7

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Beautiful view of Antarctica yesterday!

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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)!

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Summit of Mount Vinson!

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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)!

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Summit of Mount Vinson!

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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