December 1, 2006 – Slowly Preparing for Summit Day

Listen to Audio of Wally's Call (.wav)

It only took Larry and I five hours to climb from Camp I up to High Camp.  We left at about 6:00pm last evening.  Wayne just said, you know I know I can go long but I’m not sure if I can go up and when you are in that situation in a place like Antarctica you got to play it safe.  He made the right call, he’s fine down there now with Paul and Beth.  As a matter of fact when we left they were looking at what food they were going to prepare in the cook tarp dug in the snow back at Camp I.

Larry and I walked out of camp wearing our crampons and carrying our ice axes as we came back up the headwall.  I know I keep talking about it being hot on this trip but this is Antarctica folks and on the headwall we would get blasts of air off the Shinn-Vinson Col.           

Now we are at our High Camp and preparing slowly to get started for our climb today. So many details.  Stoves have to run for hours and hours to melt enough water to drink and get some food prepared.  We've got to get Larry’s feet warmed this morning, we slept in our -50C sleeping bags but his feet didn’t really get warm this morning so we have to get them warm before we put them into his big insulated climbing boots, put on his crampons and begin climbing.

We are hoping to do this climb in about 12 hours round trip, the weather looks pretty good although there are some high clouds moving in.  We’ll keep you posted as we move up Vinson.  Hopefully we’ll call you from the top some time later today on December 1st.

[Later the same day]

Listen to Audio of Wally's Call (.wav)

Ok it’s 12:30pm on the 1st and Larry and I are ready to begin climbing.  We are going to clip on to the ropes and start towards the summit of Mount Vinson.  It’s a pretty nice day.  You know it’s always cold up here.  We are wearing our big down suits and everything we need to keep warm today, our radio, Iridium phone, cheese for lunch, our sunscreen all has to be in pockets in these down suits.

We’ll be regulating our temperatures as we go by unzipping but if stays the way it is right now we may stay zipped up.  I think the weather is good today, we do have those high clouds.  It looks to be a beautiful day though.  Larry and I are going to take it one step at a time and see if we can reach the top of Mount Vinson today.