November 29 – Cold Temperatures Move In

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

BAI's 2004 Vinson team staying warm on the mountain

I’m reporting in from our little camp at 10,200 ft (3109m).  Woodie, Martin and I have a good little home here.  Yesterday... [ transmission lost ]... to very cold temperatures, -35F (-37C), but we are in a bit of a sandwich here as there is worse weather below and worse weather above.  The night before Margot had reported to me by VHF radio that she was in 20 knot winds, -20 temperatures with blowing snow and no visibility.

Yesterday morning after we got a start in that cold weather, Woodie, Martin and I walked around the corner and carried a load up to the base of that big headwall that we will use for high camp.  We found extremely cold temperatures around the corner.  Four teams started up and we all decided to come back down.

Woodie found out how important the balaclava is: the hat that comes down and becomes a face mask in the cold winds up high.  But we had a very successful carry up there and we found out what the weather is going to be like up high on the mountain.

Today we are assessing whether the cloud cap above will allow us to continue or whether we’ll just stay here at our little home at 10,200 ft (3109m).  We enjoyed climbing yesterday with Jamie Clark, our buddy from Alberta and his partner Will Travis.  Will is known around here as the guy who wears a bigger down suit than even I do.  He has a huge yellow down suit, bigger than the big red suit that I wear; it’s the biggest down suit on the mountain.  So Will is looking happy down here in Antarctica.

Everything is great.  Woodie, Martin and I will continue to report here about our decisions about moving up and the conditions here in Antarctica.  Things are fine at 10,200 ft (3109m).