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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.

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With a change in weather, Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd have successfully made the ascent to Camp 1 at 9,154 feet! After two days at Vinson Base Camp, the team was very excited to push onward. Garrett and team made the eight hour push through cold and breezy conditions before arriving at Camp 1. Other than the wind, todays weather report on Mount Vinson was clear and sunny. Quickly after arriving the team set up camp and started warming up with a hot dinner prepared by Garrett.

Tomorrow our team will enjoy a rest day and let their bodies recover and continue to acclimatize to todays elevation gain. Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd will work together tomorrow to develop a strategy for reaching Camp 2, with factors including weather and overall route conditions. Everyone is doing well and in high spirit!

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Audio Dispatch from Garrett Madison ~ Wednesday, December 2

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Climbing across glaciated slopes on Mount Vinson.

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Looks pretty similar to “The Wall” from Game of Thrones! This gorgeous shot was take during the ascent to Camp 1. Onward!

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Antarctica’s Mount Vinson base camp population is beginning to grow as multiple teams wait for the heavy winds and below freezing temperatures to pass. Winds today were recorded at 30 knots, or roughly 35 mph, with the temperature down to -20 degrees fahrenheit. Beyond the weather, the team had a very productive day. Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd worked together to fortify their tents by creating snow bricks of sort, then creating a wall to deflect the wind. Afterward, Garrett and team enjoyed an exploratory climb to a local peak in the Ellsworth Mountains. The team is doing well and enjoying the opportunity to spend time on this secluded continent.

Dispatch below from our Expedition Leader ~ Garrett Madison

Note: It appears that the weather conditions or the connection with the satellites breaks up the call for the first 5-10 seconds. After this time the quality improves.

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Tuesday, December 1

Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd battled sustained heavy winds with gusts of over 50 mph rolling across the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains today. This weather related rest day allowed the team to finalize gear bags and enjoy warm meals together while avoiding the harshest of arctic conditions. With any luck the wind will subside in the morning and allow the team to push onward. Garrett and team are situated at just over 7,000 feet based on our most recent data and will be pushing to 9,100 depending on tomorrow’s weather conditions. Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd are doing great and are excited for the next push. Today’s breakfast and lunch menu sounded delicious 🙂  The team is staying well fed under Garrett’s watch!

Dispatch below from our Expedition Leader ~ Garrett Madison

Monday, November 30th.

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Base Camp on Mount Vinson at 7,000ft.

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Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains.

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Blue bird day!

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Today our climbing team in Antarctica spent the day settling into Base Camp on Vinson Massif and prepared for the ascent to Camp 1 in the coming days. Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd woke up to a breakfast feast this morning, including pancakes, eggs, and bacon! Garrett’s mountain culinary skills are some of the best on the mountains 🙂  After a delicious breakfast the team did a quick ascent and strategically moved food, gear, and other personal items further up the mountain in preparation for the team’s push to Camp 1. The team is now waiting on the weather conditions for tomorrow before determining the days agenda. Depending on the wind and temperature, our climbing team may spend another night in Base Camp. Our team has a exciting opportunity to interact with other Antarctic explorers as well as scientists doing meaningful research in their fields while they make their journey across the frozen continent. To the top!

This article written on Mashable shares additional photos of Thrusday’s historic Boeing 757 landing on the blue-ice runway.

Dispatch below from our Expedition Leader ~ Garrett Madison

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Unloading gear and setting up base camp on Vinson Massif.

 

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Camp 1 on Vinson Massif

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Beautiful shot of the Ellsworth Mountains from Base Camp.

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Summit in sight at 4,892 m (16,050 ft)!

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DHC-6 Twin Otter near Mount Vinson Base Camp.

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Today our climbing team in Antarctica spent the day settling into Base Camp on Vinson Massif and prepared for the ascent to Camp 1 in the coming days. Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd woke up to a breakfast feast this morning, including pancakes, eggs, and bacon! Garrett’s mountain culinary skills are some of the best on the mountains 🙂  After a delicious breakfast the team did a quick ascent and strategically moved food, gear, and other personal items further up the mountain in preparation for the team’s push to Camp 1. The team is now waiting on the weather conditions for tomorrow before determining the days agenda. Depending on the wind and temperature, our climbing team may spend another night in Base Camp. Our team has a exciting opportunity to interact with other Antarctic explorers as well as scientists doing meaningful research in their fields while they make their journey across the frozen continent. To the top!

This article written on Mashable shares additional photos of Thrusday’s historic Boeing 757 landing on the blue-ice runway.

Dispatch below from our Expedition Leader ~ Garrett Madison

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Unloading gear and setting up base camp on Vinson Massif.

 

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Camp 1 on Vinson Massif

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Beautiful shot of the Ellsworth Mountains from Base Camp.

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Summit in sight at 4,892 m (16,050 ft)!

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DHC-6 Twin Otter near Mount Vinson Base Camp.

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The Mount Vinson team is in route to rondevu in Patagonia! I’ve been here two days and have enjoyed the vibrant architecture and bustling downtown city. Punta Arenas is a departure point for many wishing to experience the Patagonia region. Today my morning walk on the Brunswick Peninsula unveiled fishermen, kayakers, longboarders and adventure photographers enjoying the beautiful sunrise across the horizon. Among the many attractions in Punta Arena, my favorites have been the monument erected on the main square to Ferdinand Magellan, the Seaside Walkway at sunrise and the renowned Dreams Casino and Hotel (pictures below). Tomorrow our team of global explorers will begin to arrive. This is my tenth expedition to the frozen continent and I’m excited as I’ve ever been. We have journeyed to el fin del mundo (“the end of the world”), and we are about to go further.

Garrett Madison  ~  Expedition Leader

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Dreams Casino and Hotel ~ they are well known for a beautiful view from the Skybar!

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Colorful houses along the waterfront in Punta Arenas. Along the water you can see the Seaside Walkway. In the horizon is the Strait of Magellan. This navigable sea route separates mainland South America to the north and Tierra del Fuego to the south.

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Selk’nam Patagonian Indian ~ a popular tradition says that those who kiss or touch the Indian’s toe will come back to Patagonia one day. Had to do it!

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A statue in the Plaza of Punta Arenas memorializes the nearly-vanished Yamanas tribespeople.

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Punta Arenas is the capital city of Chile’s southernmost region and is among the largest cities in the entire Patagonian Region. Patagonia is a sparsely populated region located at the southern end of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes mountains as well as the deserts, steppes and grasslands east of this southern portion of the Andes.

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