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:
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: