December 19 – Weather changing at Vinson Base

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It’s December 19. Will Cross, Gus Pope and myself are relaxed – our second full day at Vinson Base Camp after that long and really satisfying and very beautiful day on the 16th of December when we summitted Mount Vinson.

The weather has not been particularly good since that time. Yesterday, from our calm and quiet, sheltered spot here at Vinson Base, I saw a huge lenticular cloud on Vinson and I knew that the weather would not be good today. And, in fact, it’s not. We’re socked in with eight octers of cloud cover.

But it’s a good place to be right now – resting and still awed to be in Antarctica. It’s an amazing experience for me (and I know Gus and Will must share it) to actually climb a great mountain that was discovered within my lifetime.

The Ellsworth Range was named for Lincoln Ellsworth, who made the first trans-continental flight across Antarctica in I believe 1935. But he didn’t see the highest part of the range. And it wasn’t until 1957 that a US Navy survey of Antarctica that Vinson Massif was discovered.

And interestingly enough, it was a few years later – 37 years ago yesterday actually, December 18, 1966 – that a party that included my friend John Evans made the first ascent of Mount Vinson. This exceptional American group of mountaineers also made the first ascent of Mount Tyree near here.

And some of you may recall, if you were watching MountainZone a few years back, we actually found a cache left by John and that crew in 1966 and I was able to return to him some pieces of chocolate that they brought from New Zealand and some match boxes that had been a trademark of that expedition that we recovered from a cache here all those years later.

So, Antarctic mountaineering history and a satisfied time for the three of us. You have to be patient in Antarctica. Just being here in itself is an amazing experience, something very few people in the world will ever have the privilege of doing.

So we’ll sit here, not knowing what the weather will do over the next few days but we have everything we need and we’re comfortable and here we are in Antarctica!

This BAI expedition
is sponsored by:

AlpineAire Foods

Panasonic Toughbooks