2004-2005 Mount Vinson Cybercast

January 19, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there cybernauts, we finally made it out of Antarctica, the Stray Dogs are on their way home.  In case you haven't heard, most everyone has already left Punta Arenas and is heading back home.  So thank you very much for joining us this year and hope to see you on our next trip, the further adventures of Alpine Ascents on the highest mountain on each continent. Ciao for now from 143 feet above sea level, Punta Arenas, Chile, Ciao ciao.

January 19, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there, this is The Stray Dogs, reporting in from the tip of South America, we are on our way!  We finally got some good weather, we flew into Punta Arenas all the way from Union Glacier and are on our way home, so look to see us soon.  Thank you for all your prayers and good wishes and thank you for tuning into this cybercast brought to you by Alpine Ascents all the way from the highest point in Antarctica.  We are standing at 143 feet above sea level, got here at 11:43 this morning and are currently changing tickets and gorging ourselves on good food, and we're heading home, ciao for now.

January 18, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there cybernauts, this is Vern Tejas and the Stray Dogs, stuck at Union Glacier.  Another very windy day and going into a windy night.  We're not going to get out today, but hopefully tomorrow, it will drop off.  It's very good for kiting, I was out Kite Skiing and teaching folks how to use the kites, two-line kites, four-line kites, so we're having a great amount of outdoor activity, walking hiking, keeping our spirits high.  However, here we are 3,143 feet above sea level, stuck in clear but not calm weather.  So we're looking forward to it turning calm and then hopefully we'll be on our way back to you.  Ciao ciao for now now.

January 18, 2005 Click for CallListen To Todd's Call
Hello friends, family, and faithful watchers of Team Nankyoku Nigo, this is Todd calling in from Union Glacier and I'm sad to report that the winds are still blowing, so we are still here, the Illuyshin has not flown in and we are going to spend another day playing scrabble and cards and eating food, and hopefully the winds will calm down we'll be able to get out of here soon, we're anxious to see you all and we send you our love and best wishes, we'll see you when we're looking at you.

January 17, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there friends family and loved ones, this is Vern and the Stray Dogs, checking in.  The weather has improved, quite a bit and we have now shifted positions on the Twin Otter and flown from Vinson Base Camp all the way to Union Glacier.  Everybody is very happy about this situation and the fact that we are one step closer, getting home.  However the wind is up here, and we cannot fly the big , bird, the Illuyshin, the Russian carrier that's going to take us from Antarctica to South America, so we can't fly until the wind drops significantly, we've had gusts up in the 32 knot area and it needs to be down below 20 before we can actually call it in.  So we are keeping our fingers crossed, biding our time and playing lots of cards, eating steak dinners and waiting for the big bird, waiting for the wind to die.  So stay with us here at 3,143 feet above sea level and send us your best wishes and prayers, hope to see you soon.  Ciao for now.

January 16, 2005 Click for CallListen To Todd's Call
Todd here, calling in for Team Nankyoku Nigo.  Well we are one step closer to coming back home, but the one step is only getting us to Union Glacier.  We arrived in Union Glacier this afternoon and we were hoping to fly this evening, but the winds are still too high and they called it off for the evening.  So our next call will be at 5:00 in the morning to see if they decide to fly or not.  So we are keeping our fingers crossed, we enjoyed our time on Vinson and at Base Camp and actually, after being here for just a few days, we realized that Vinson Base Camp was a much better place to hang out, it's always so windy here at Union Glacier.  But at least we have the big cook tent to hang out in and socialize with each other and all the other groups and play games and cook and just relax for a couple days, well hopefully not for a couple of days but one evening.  So hopefully we'll see you soon, ciao.

January 15, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there cybercats, this is Stray Dogs, reporting in from Vinson Base Camp.  Clouds all day, no way can we fly.  We are stuck here at 7,143 feet above sea level.  We are just waiting for the plane.  Everybody is still in good health and enjoying the enforced relaxation.  I think everybody would also appreciate a little bit of sun and some clear weather so we could fly.  So please send your good wishes and all your best to us and we'll hopefully be out of here soon.  We need to get to Union Glacier and off to the tip of South America, so send all your goodness and love your way.  Thank you very much, ciao for now.

January 15, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Friends, family and loved ones, this is the Stray Dogs at Vinson Base Camp, 7,143 feet above sea level.  We're just reporting in that it's cloudy and we are currently on hold, waiting for the plane to take us away to Union Glacier. We spent the day sledding, telling jokes, reading, sleeping and playing music, it was quite nice.  However we would like to be on our way back to you.  With that in mind, please keep your fingers crossed, send your prayers this way, all of your best wishes are very much appreciated.  Everybody is in good spirits and we had a wonderful salmon dinner this evening to fill everyone up.  So ciao for now.

January 14, 2005 Click for CallListen To Todd's Call
Howdy folks this is Todd calling in for Team Nankyoku Nigo.  And you guessed it, we are still here at Vinson Base Camp.  We were awakened this morning at the bright and early hour of 10:00 and told we had an hour and a half to get ready, the planes were coming.  So we all jumped out of bed and we packed up our bags and got a little hot water going for breakfast and before we could get anything for breakfast to eat, we were told that the planes were on hold.  One plane did fly, but we weren't on that one.  We are set up to got on the next one, but the Illuyshin hasn't flown and won't fly until at least tomorrow night, so we are not really behind schedule as of yet, we are still ready to get on that Illuyshin on the evening of the 15th, hopefully, that's what we are optimistic about.  We're doing fine, we've eaten well, and had some good times here at Base Camp, and found plenty of stuff to keep us busy, as long as we keep it up, we'll keep our spirits up, so keep your wishes coming for us so we can get home to you soon, and we'll see you when we're looking at you.

January 14, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there cybernauts, this is the Stray Dogs, temporarily stranded in Vinson Base Camp.  We've got clouds, we've got overcast, we've got shadows over the runway and we're still having a good time.  Currently going to do a little sledding at 7,143 feet above sea level, going to enjoy that to the max.  Ciao for now.

January 14, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there friends family and loved ones, This is the Stray Dogs.  What a day, clear, calm, beautiful.  Everybody was pretty excited about starting to head on down, so that's what we did.  We had lunch at noon, packed up and for the most part everybody was out of there by 5:00.  So walking down, we took down all of our equipment and gear and all of our trash and waste brought it all down to Base Camp.  It was a very full day, not getting in until about, seems like it was close to 11:00.  Then two of us went over and did Shinn, that makes Danielle the youngest lady to ever do the third-highest mountain and probably the fastest lady as well.  And then those people caught up with the main group at about 1:00 in the morning, had a fine dinner and we're off to bed.  So thank you for your prayers, clearing up that weather, making our days be peaceful.  Ciao for now.

January 13, 2005 Click for CallListen To Todd's Call
Hello this is Todd calling in from Team Nankyoku Nigo.  We made it back to Base Camp here. We are sitting here at Vinson Base Camp, just after we ate our meal and hoping that tomorrow brings an airplane out to pick us up.  Right now the situation is that the planes are a little backed up.  The Illuyshin that was supposed to fly on the 9th, flew in, but because of high winds, was unable to fly out, so I don't know if this afternoon if it was still sitting at the runway at Union Glacier, with a full group of people ready to roll out on that.  So hopefully that plane is flying tonight because the weather has cleared up and then we will be able to follow suit, the day after tomorrow.  We have at least a 24-hour turn-around time when the Illuyshin needs to fly back to Union Glacier without loads, and the pilots need to have a little rest before they come back.  So hopefully we will have 2 solid good days of nice weather so that we are only a day late coming home, but just so our family knows, the earliest we will fly off the ice here would be the evening of the 15th, that's kind of the best-case scenario, so keep your fingers crossed and we'll see you when we're looking at you.

January 12, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there cybernauts, friends, family and loved ones.  This is The Stray Dogs, down in Antarctica, we are at high camp after a very windy windy day.  We went to the summit, all of us, and we are very elated to be back in camp and now in our sleeping bags.  This cybercast is coming to you form the inside of a big down 30 below sleeping bag.  We are currently camped at 12,814.3 feet above sea level and have figured out that we've probably endured, oh about 40 knots of wind today, at10-20 below, anyway, really cold wind chill factor, but everybody is excited that we've finally attained our goals and accomplished our mission and we will be now in the process of trying to get down off the mountain safely and back to the airstrip at Union Glacier and then back to the tip of South America and coming home to you.  So thank you very much for your good wishes and your blessings and your prayers, they seem to have all paid off today, now we are treated to very clear skies, even though it is is quite windy, it was a very sunny successful summit. So ciao for now from Antarctica.

January 12, 2005 Click for CallListen To Todd's Call
Hello friends family and Alpine enthusiasts, this is Todd calling in from Antarctica, Mount Vinson.  We summited today at 5:00, that's Team Nankyoku Nigo, summited at 5:00 this afternoon, on a very windy, very cold and patchy skies.  It was a trying summit.  It was very cold, so we had to deal, but these guys are hardened mountaineers and they never complained once.  Well  they speak Japanese and I don't speak Japanese so maybe they were complaining all the time, I have no idea.  But they had smiles on their faces at the summit, even in 50mph winds and cold temperatures, we measured at one point 22 below, and that's without the wind chill factor in there, so it was pretty nippy out.  But we all made it down safe down to camp.  When we got back down to camp there were some enormous wind drifts, the snow had built up over all the tents, over the Posh and actually knocked the Posh down, so when we got back to camp we had to redo the kitchen, which Hiro and myself did, an we knocked out pretty quickly, even though we were tired from the summit and the weather was still cold and windy, we got done and everybody is fed and happy and in bed and hopefully we'll be heading down tomorrow and we'll see how the schedule goes from there, so keep on watching, we'll see you when we are talking to you.

January 11, 2005 Click for CallListen To Todd's Call
Hello this is Todd calling from High Camp on Mount Vinson.  Team Nankyoku Nigo took a well-deserved rest day today.  So we spent the day lounging around, drinking hot drinks and telling stories.  Which was actually great timing since the storm that I spoke about on the last cybercast, raged on throughout the afternoon.  The winds were high and the temperatures were cold.  But as the day wore on into the evening, the skies began to clear, and the wind has now all but quit, so we are hoping that this trend continues tomorrow and we will have a beautiful summit day on our planned summit day for tomorrow.  This evening for dinner Yoshida decided he wanted to cook a traditional Japanese meal, so we looked through our food cache here and dug out what we could that would simulate Japanese food and he picked it out and decided what we were going to cook.  Actually it ended up being Hiro and myself doing all the cooking and Yoshida was the technical director, but it turned out great and we all enjoyed a somewhat traditional Japanese meal with the ingredients that we had here, so we are all satiated and fueled for tomorrow. (transmission garbled) 7:00, that's much earlier than we've gotten out of bed, this whole trip, so it will be a little shocker to us, but we've rested well today so we'll be ready for tomorrow.  Hopefully tomorrow night when we return, I'll be able to give you a positive report of our summit climb. We'll see you when we're looking at you.

January 11, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there friends, family and loved ones, this is The Stray Dogs at High Camp on Mount Vinson, Down in Antarctica.  And what a full day we've had today.  We've been snoring, we've been sleeping, we've been lounging, we've been stretching, we've been reading, and let's see, oh, playing music, another chord today for Danielle, and two new songs, playing harmonica, eating, sleeping, did I mention a lot of resting? Anyway it's been a rest day today, so we are all very stoked, very rested up and have high hopes that tomorrow the weather will be nice and everyone will be in good health and we'll be able to take off.  Spirits are high, team morale is good and we are in a holding pattern in shooting for the summit tomorrow, so keep your fingers crossed and send those prayers our way and hopefully the next time we talk to you it will be from the top of Antarctica!

January 11, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there cybernauts, this is Vernie and Strange Dogs.  Say we're up here at High Camp now we are very fortunate to be able to push up in the nasty wind that we got.  Remember that Windless Corner, well it; changed it's name, it is now Very Windy Corner, and that Windless Valley, it's now very Windy Valley.  We pushed up and had to set Camp here at 12, 814.3 feet above sea level, that's an approximation of course.  However, as we set camp, the wind has tended to drop a little bit we are hoping that tomorrow is going to be clear so that we can enjoy our day off.  So thanks for tuning in with us and just know that we are thinking of you and we are all in good spirits, ciao for now.

January 10, 2005 Click for CallListen To Todd's Call
Well it happened, the weather finally changed and we are experiencing Antarctica as it is famed to be:  Cold and Windy.  We arrived here at camp at around 6:00 and it was cold and it was windy.  But Team Nankyoku Nigo did well, they banded together, and Hiro, Yoshida, Saito, and Oichan  all got the tents set up while I dug in the Posh and the cook tent and got hot water going and we made quick work of it, these guys make a great team and their experience in the mountains shows.  We were in the tent eating dinner within less than 2 hours of arriving in camp, which is pretty good considering the conditions that we had to deal with. 

It's kind of funny because Yoshida and Saito were complaining that they brought their down suits, just last night saying that it's just extra weight, we're going to experience only warm weather here, and I think they jinxed us, because it is blowing out now, and pretty cold.  But it's a good thing to experience, you can't come down here to Antarctica and have all warm weather and go home happy.  So we're satisfied with our day and we're all hunkered down in our bags now and we're going to have a nice sleep tonight and looking forward to our day of rest tomorrow.  We're sending out our love to everybody and thank everybody for watching and paying attention to our goings on here on Mount Vinson.  So we'll see you when we're looking at you.

January 9, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there cybernauts, friends, family and loved ones, this is The Antarctic Stray Dogs, checking in from Camp II. We had a fabulous day today, it was all sun and blue, goodness gracious, calm too, can you believe that?  We went around Windy Corner and there was no wind, so we renamed it Windless Corner, and the we went up the valley of wind, which is now called the Valley of Calm and topped out in the Windy Col which is Windless as well and we are all very happy about this.  We moved food and fuel up to 12,814.3 feet above sea level, that's an approximation mind you, and everybody seems to be pleasantly fatigued, begging for water, it's only what, 3:00 in the morning right now, we're trying to put 'em to bed with some hot water and I just want to mention that Dave Morton has whipped out a fabulous meal of fried chicken and corn on the cob, and everybody has got grease form stem to stern.  So with that, just as the Eskimos, muktuk is good.  So with that we are off to bed and just want to tell you that we are alive, well, kicking and everyone is a happy camper.  Not to mention Dannielle has learned a new chord.  So ciao for now, until later.

January 9, 2005 Click for CallListen To Todd's Call
Hi this is Todd calling in for Team Nankyoku Nigo, the Japanese Team with Alpine Ascents.  It was a beautiful day today, one of the warmest I've seen in the month I've been here in Antarctica.  We did our carry today, left at about 2:00 in the afternoon, carried on up the headwall, up to our high camp, dug it in a little bit to get our camp started for tomorrow when we move up.  We made great time, up in just about 6 hours, round trip in about 7 hours and 20 minutes.  So this is a strong team.  They should be, all of them just got off of Cho-Oyu a few months ago, so they may have a little residual acclimatization there, but at least some altitude experience behind them. We came back and had a nice dinner of pork chops and mashed potatoes, and celebrated our success for the day.  We're all hunkered in our bags now and trying to stay warm for the night, the sun is getting ready to go behind the mountain again and put us in a shadow and it drops the temperature significantly.  We send our love out to family and friends and ask for their best wishes as we move on up tomorrow, so we'll talk to you then, hopefully from High Camp.  Signing off for now.

January 8, 2005 Click for CallListen To Todd's Call
Hi this is Todd calling in from Camp I on a beautiful evening here in Antarctica.  We're all looking up at the peaks of Shinn and Epperly and just taking in the beautiful views we have here.  Since we did our last report in, we moved up, we are doing things a little differently now, here than we did with the last group.  We did a .5 Camp and Camp I.  We do this to avoid the long day of the back carry and still get some acclimatization in.

The Japanese Team came up with a team name which we will be going by from now on.  Nankyoku Nigo.  Team Nankyoku Nigo, it means Team Antarctica Second.  He said that the Japanese would understand.  So that will be the name we are going by.  Tomorrow we are going to take on our first big day here.  We are going to be moving on up the headwall, and on to High Camp.  We are going to do a carry, mainly for acclimatization, but also to transport some food and fuel and a few extra pieces of gear up there.  And then we will come back down here to Camp I for one more night before we move on up.  The weather thus far has been spectacular and we hope it stays the same.  We send our love and wishes out to all of you and hope you send them back.  Signing off from Antarctica.

January 8, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Vern Tejas with the Stray Dogs here, Camp II.  It's been a wonderful, beautiful day, people are fat and sassy, just digesting our steak and potato dinners here at 9,143 feet above sea level, we're having a great time here.  We're practicing our clip throughs, and enjoying the wonderful clear and calm weather. It's probably in our double Posh Houses here, I'm guessing our temperature is up to about 50 degrees here.  So we're digging it, you can barely see your breath.  Well  some people have bigger breaths than others of course.  Anyway, please stay tuned for the action tomorrow when we go up the notorious headwall.  Again stay tuned for the further adventures of the Stray Dogs, ciao for now.

January 7, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there cybernauts and all you cybercats, this is Vern Tejas reporting in from Vinson Base Camp for the January Trip, Name to be announced.  We had a wonderful day today, practicing all those wonderful glacier skills that make us safe and confident.  We learned how to tie some knots, we rigged our prussiks...(Transmission Fails)

January 6, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there friends families and loved ones, this is The January Trip.  We are now, we've already flown all the way across the Drake Passage, down the Alaska (sic) Peninsula, past the Ellsworth Range and landed safely in Union Glacier.  We grabbed our gear and made use of our window of opportunity.  As long as the weather is good we sprinted all the way out to the wonderful Base Camp at Mount Vinson.  As we speak we are now encamped below the Massif at 7,143 feet above sea level.  Everybody is happy to be here, pleasantly exhausted from the day of travel, but now getting caught up on their sleep so that we can begin a full day of crevasse travel, lead ringing, knot tying, anchor studies, crevasse rescue, and generally get prepared for the next step of the game which is to actually climb this hill.  The team looks to be strong and all in good health.  We're very excited to make new friends and prepare ourselves for another adventure in Antarctica.  Stay tuned for the January Trip, ta ta.

January 6, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there friends family and loved ones, this is the Penguins reporting in for our last and final report from Antarctica.  Well the day cleared and the wind calmed and the big bird flew.  Indeed the Illuyshin took off at about 6:00, came all the way down to Union Glacier, all filled up with our team members and said our final goodbyes and they took off at 1:43 in the morning winging their way back, they're winging their way back to the tip of South America, Punta Arenas, and they should be heading on their way home in the very near future.  Kristine from our office, is there to help arrange their tickets and they should be very soon, at your door.  So thank you for joining us for the Penguins and their ascent of Mount Vinson, it's been a pleasure having you and hope to see you again soon.  Ciao for now from Antarctica.

January 5, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there cybernauts, this is Vern Tejas with the Penguins, down at Union Glacier, Latitude 80 S, and Longitude 80W and 1.43.  The weather is looking good, thank you for your best wishes.  The wind has died down, the sky is clear and we are tentatively looking at a plane coming in tonight at about, it will probably leave South America at 6 and probably get here around 11, somewhere in that area, which is good, because people are really really certainly getting stoked about going home and coming back to see you guys, so keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned, we might be airborne tonight, ciao for now.

January 5, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call

Hey there friends family and loved ones, this is Vern Tejas with the Penguins.  We are no longer on Vinson at all, we are way over in Union Glacier.  Thank you very much for your best wishes.  The skies finally cleared up early this morning and we kept our fingers crossed, packed our gear and made a little breakfast and wham, we got a flight, as a matter of fact we got two flights which was necessary for our crew and they flew us to Union Glacier and we've been pinned down in the wind ever since.  So we are out of the frying pan and right into the fire, but we're one step closer to you.  Currently camping at about 3,143 feet at latitude 80 S and Longitude 80 W.  Big crew here, really a wonderful place to hang out and get to know fellow climbers from all over the world, it's quite an international group.  However, rather than socializing we are more interested in getting home, so keep your fingers crossed once more time that the winds will die down here at Union Glacier and we will catch the big Russian bird in the sky, the Illuyshin and we will be on our way back to Punta Arenas, Chile.  So with any luck we will be seeing you shortly, ciao for now.

January 4, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call

Hey there cybernauts, this is The Penguins checking in from Vinson Base Camp in Antarctica at 7,143 feet above sea level.  It's been windy and it's been wild. We had a storm all day long and we've also had whiteout conditions.  Everybody's spirits are high, but it doesn't look all that fun and promising, so we're going to just  hang in there and go to sleep tonight hoping that we have better weather in the morning, so thank you for coming in and joining us for this day of slack line and good food, Todd cooked us a steak dinner. But at the same time, hopefully we'll have more to report tomorrow, ciao for now.

January 4, 2005
A big hello to everyone from Punta Arenas! This is Dave Morton calling in for our 4th Vinson Expedition of the season.  It's Tuesday morning here in Chile and the entire group is here with every piece of luggage. The last of our group of 14 arrived yesterday afternoon. There were a few missed connections but no serious delays or missing baggage. So it was a good beginning.

We attended the briefing on our Antarctic experience yesterday morning. The afternoon was then spent repacking and weighing our bags to be loaded on the Russian Illuyshin jet we'll be taking to the ice. There was an outside chance of a flight last night that didn't materialize so we are now in the holding pattern that will go on until we make it to Antarctica.

If all goes as planned we will fly to Union Glacier on the jet that our 3rd expedition will fly back to Punta Arenas on. We know they're probably ready to get back home after a successful trip on the mountain. I'll quickly introduce our Vinson Team IV. Our team name may have to wait until we land on the ice! We have:

Dawn- Las Vegas, NV
Danielle- Bow, WA
Robin- Charlotte, NC
David B- New York, NY
Bob- Plattsburgh, NY
David L- CO
Eric- Fremont, CA
Mike- Fremont, CA
Brad- Del Mar, CA
Marshall- CO
and our international contingent of Hiro, Tamura, Saito and Yoshida from
Osaka and Tokyo.

We will give you updates in the following days and hopefully soon it will be from lovely Antarctica! Cross your fingers for a short delay in Punta Arenas and we'll talk to you soon.

Dave Morton

January 2, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there cybernauts this is Vern and the Penguins checking in from Vinson base camp at 7143ft above sea level.  Today was a fun day.  We ended up doing some sledding on the local ski hill and we had some walking of the slack line which kept people busy for hours. Which is a good thing because the weather has conspired against us, a big cloud blew in and visual is down snow is coming down as well and there is  little chance of us flying out of here today. We are keeping our  fingers crossed for tomorrow and hoping we get back to Union Glacier in a reasonable amount of time to catch our Illuyshin flight, the big Russian jet that flies us back to the tip of South America.   Currently we have been having a great evening Todd fried up a bunch of salmon for us and made us feel very much loved and at home.  And we invited everyone else over and made ice cream, raspberry gelato I should call it, actually.  We had cookies and all the camp all the people that are stranded here with us decided to come over a guy from Spain a group from Alaska and Australians and Scottish and English so an international community in our tent tonight.  Reason we can do this is because Todd, myself, along with Tom, Cleve, Doug added an addition onto our tent we now have a double wide tent that served like the Wringling Brothers we had a good time in the Big Top.  Thank you for joining us and know that you are in our hearts and in our prayers and our condolences go out to all the people who suffered so greatly in this earthquake in the Indian Ocean.  We just found out about that and are appalled and at the same time are very awed at the strength of mother nature so with that in mind have a good night and God be with you.  Ciao for now.

January 1, 2005 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there friends, family and loved ones this the Penguins. We are at Vinson Base Camp having a great old time.  The weather is beautiful here however it is very obnoxious and very windy at Union Glacier.  So we spent the day going off and climbing Mt. Heather, which is a beautiful peak, it gives you a complete view of the range.  We have been eating, telling jokes, telling our life stories and also built a slack line today.  Which provides hours and hours of balanced entertainment.  So we all had a turn in seeing how humble we could be while we walked across this little tight rope and played some music and told lots of jokes.  We are all in good spirits and looking forward to getting on with the next bit of the trip.  And if we can't go forward we will have a great time right where we are. So you do the same and happy new year. Ciao for now.

December 31, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there cybernauts and a happy New Year to you.  This is the Penguins reporting in from Base camp on Mt. Vinson.  Well lots of things have been taking place.  First of all we have had a 13 year old man climb to the top of Antarctica.  Second, we also had five of our members went over and climbed Mt. Shinn the third highest in Antarctica.  This is a very positive thing and we have had some great weather and everybody is very satisfied with the expedition.  We have now picked up our tents and packed up and moved down the mountain and just five hours we dropped from our high camp all the way down to our base camp and we are now currently celebrating the brand new year of 2005.  Its wonderful to be here with all these other mountaineers and celebrating and playing games and singing Auld Lang Syne. However we want you to know we are thinking of you back home and that we soon plan to be heading back if the weather is good.  Hopefully tomorrow we will launch, get a flight with a Twin Otter all the way back to Union Glacier and then in several days I think on the fourth about four days from now we should be having Illuyshin come in, weather permitting and fly us back to the tip of South America.  And then we will be winging it back to you, back at home.  We really appreciate that fact you have stayed with us through the climb and we will keep reporting as long as we are here on the ice.  So stay tuned for further adventures of the Penguins all 143 of us.  Ciao for now.

December 30, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there cybercats this is Vernie and the Penguins high on the shoulder of Mt. Vinson.  We are camped in the Vinson col between Mt. Vinson and Mt. Shinn at our high camp and today was a rest day.  Everybody is in great spirits after our previous summit day on Mt. Vinson and while we are hanging around we decided to spend another day here because the weather is really reasonable and we believe that we can't get a flight out until probably after New Year's Day, so here we are sitting it out and half the team got the urge to go climb Mt. Shinn and were successful, so we had five of our team led by Todd Passey, successfully topped out Mt Shinn and that included Mr. Katori, and Chida, our Japanese contingent, as well as Cleve McDonald (Alaskan), and Igor our Russian component, so we had a very special day today.  The rest of us stayed back at the shack in our cook tent and told jokes and stories, made up lots of lies and had a good ol' time.  We are in good spirits and are planning on heading down tomorrow, all the way down to base camp to celebrate the coming New Year.  Currently, I would just like to state the height of Mt. Shinn is 4661.43 meters above sea level.  For all those of you keeping track, the temperature is -30F... transmission fails.

December 29, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there friends family and loved ones this is the Penguins reporting in from Mt. Vinson, down in Antarctica.  The day started with disappointment.  We looked out and saw clouds and wind was shaking our tents and we just, that's not what we were looking for after a week of just clear blue skies and calm weather all of a sudden summit day it turned nasty.  So we got up, discussed it and decided we were going to try it anyway.  And sure enough in record time we whipped to the summit of the continent, at Mt. Vinson, 16,143ft above sea level, approximately and all members made it, everybody is ecstatic and when we got back down Todd fed them steak and french fries and they are all tucked into bed enjoying life very very much.  So we have been successful.  Johnny has been the youngest man to climb the mountain at 13 years old now and we are very happy all members made it up there in good style.  Thank you very much for dropping in to check on us and stay tuned an we'll give you an update tomorrow.  Ciao for now!

December 28, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Friends family and loved ones today the penguins went exploring.  We had a wonderful breakfast this morning we got up late had a real slow leisurely start and then we dawned the rope and harness, grabbed our ice axes and went for a little walk.  A little acclimatization hike is always good for the body and soul and enough to make you tired so you sleep at night. We headed off to the east and looked down the other side of the Ellsworth Range drops on down actually from that point to the sea, very dramatic relief from the east side.  We will take some photographs of some distant mountains beautifully back light by the sun, very interesting mural.  Everybody is very excited about the weather has been holding we are hoping we have at least another day of that because tomorrow we plan on going for the summit.  Everybody has gone to bed early tonight, full water bottles and sleeping with their booties so feet are nice and warm tomorrow.  We are just crossing our fingers the wind doesn't come up and we have the same beautiful clear blue weather we have been having the whole week.  If it just extends one more more day we are going to be lucky because we will be able to see everything.  Ciao for now.

December 28, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there cybercats this is Vernie and the Penguins.  We were very successful today moving from camp I to camp II at our high camp which puts us in position for shooting for the summit in the near future.  We are currently located at about 3,914.3 meters above sea level.  Sky is clear but it has been windy we got hit with a very extreme breeze as we topped the headwall today and we had to make sure that no flesh exposed because it cut like a razor.  But fortunately we were able to make a very quick successful camp and dig in and everybody was motivated by the wind of course.  Like I say we are currently ensconced in camp we had a great dinner a trout specialty that Todd fixed up for us.  And currently everybody is heading for bed.  So thank you for following our progress we love knowing that you are thinking of  us and we are thinking of you as well ciao for now stay tuned.

December 26, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call

Hello there friends, family and loved ones.  This is the Penguins checking in from Mt. Vinson Antarctica.  We are in camp I, we have been all day,  its been a wonderful day we have had lots of conversation, lots of good times, little bit of music, sitting back eating some good food.  We called it a rest day today in celebration of Johnny's birthday and plan on moving up to our  high tomorrow.  Sun still shining, weather is great, spirits are high and we really appreciate you checking in on us and seeing how we are doing.  That's pretty much it from the Great White Continent ciao for now.

December 25, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there friends, family and loved ones.  This is the Penguins checking in from Antarctica.  What a beautiful beautiful Christmas day it was clear blue skies relatively warm temperatures we noted that it has been down to 30below and lower the last few days.  But today with the sun shining and the calm wind it has been quite warm we did bit of our hiking in just our long johns.  We are very fortunate to have such a beautiful Christmas day to move food, fuel, and extra gear up to our camp II which is the high camp on the mountain. Then we descended back down to our camp and we are thinking about taking a rest day tomorrow and celebrating the fact that Johnny has a birthday.  So everybody send him good wishes to him on his birthday and now he is becoming a teenager.  And of course we hope are hoping that the polar bears join in singing happy birthday to this young man who is trying to find out if he is going to be a high altitude mountaineer.  So we are all cheering for him.  We had a great carry all team members seem to be in high spirits. There is a lot of bantering going on amongst the guides on who has got the best angle on things, overall we are thinking quite a bit of home right now on this particular day and want you all to know we are thinking of you.  Thank you for your best wishes and prayers we really appreciate them.  From the team Penguins all 143 of us ciao for now and merry Christmas and happy new year.

December 24, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call

Merry Christmas cybernauts, friends, family and loved ones.  This is the Penguins checking in from Vinson camp I down in Antarctica.  It was a lovely day today not a cloud in the sky, we woke up quite frigid in the shadow of the Massif itself. We slept in till almost noon and then we got up and had a wonderful little breakfast of French toast, bacon and hit the trail at the crack of three o'clock in the afternoon.  We struggled for hours it seemed as we fought our way through horrendous sunshine up a winding a steep treacherous level pass.  All the way to the real camp I and we have been having a great time set up everything quite quickly and had a wonderful dinner that Todd cooked for us of salmon, pasta, granny cake.  We had our little celebration we are thinking of everybody back home right now and just want you to know that we are there in spirit even though we are here in body so you have a great Christmas and we hope to see you shortly.  After we have success on Mt. Vinson tomorrow we are actually going to attempt the headwall so merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.  hohoho.

December 24, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there friends family and loved ones this is Vern Tejas for team TBA and by unanimous consent we are now "The Penguins".  So the Penguins waddled all the way up from basecamp to camp I.  We are now about situated at about 8,143ft.  above sea level and we built ourselves a wonderful looking camp and everybody is pleasantly tired.  We will soon be going to sleep and thinking of happy thoughts because we have about fourteen hours were we are going to be in the shadow, the time we go to bed till the time we actually get up.  It is really cold in the shadow we will get up about 11o'clock tomorrow.  Please stand by and stick with us and stay tuned for further up dates of "The Penguins".

December 23, 2004
Hi this is Kristine Kitayama writing you from Punta Arenas, Chile. I just got off the phone with Dave Morton, who is out with Team Hot Lips at Union Glacier. He reports that there are still pretty high winds on the runway and that they won't be flying to pick them up this morning. The flight service would continue watching the winds and would be giving another update to all the teams at Union Glacier around 4:00pm. So when I hear from the flight service or Dave about when the group will be returning to Punta Arenas I will let the office know. Right now the team is doing very well and are all looking forward to returning home. Happy Holidays - Kristine

December 22, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Ladies and gentleman, friends and family this is Team TBA down at Basecamp at Mt. Vinson. Yes in deed it was a great day we did lots of practice lots of learning, lots of reading and now we are just totally psyched for heading up. We are planning a little different schedule than we have used in the past we are going to do a camp at the first corner, right below the summit at about 9,143ft above sea level. And from there we will do a single carry up to the second corner which we generally call camp I.  It will be interesting because it is a little bit of a change but it has been done before so worry not.  I think we are going to have a great time with it. It means a little less of a lengthy day and heavier loads but it should be fun.  Team is shaping up quite nicely everybody is very excited.  Johnny has dug himself a Posh House Tent pit and we have got a lot of energy in the group. With the diversity of backgrounds from Russia and the Ukraine to Japan with pretty intriguing conversations that take place here at dinner time.  We just had a wonderful meal of ravioli with chunks of meat in there cheese on top, it was enough that most people are ready to pass out.  We topped it off with a little chocolate chip cake.  Folks are heading to bed and so are we so thanks for joining us ciao for now.

December 22, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there cybernauts, friends, family and loved ones. This is Vern Tejas and Todd Passey we are saying goodbye to Team Hot Lips today.  We have come down from highcamp and just caught a plane sending our people back to Union Glacier and wishing them all the best in the world, we had a wonderful great trip. Little bit of a windy summit day but everybody is happy to be heading back home, right now they are in Union Glacier waiting for the big Ilyushin jet to come in, looks like it is tentatively scheduled for the 23rd. So everybody is satisfied with summiting and very happy to be over the first leg of heading back home. So thank you very much for tuning in to Team Hot Lips on Mt. Vinson Antarctica. Ciao for now see you the next time.

Hey there friends, family and loved ones. This Vern Tejas and Todd Passey we are happy to get a new group out here we are going to call them Team TBA. Everybody has just arrived almost on schedule, spent a day in Union Glacier and just flew out to join us here at the basecamp at 7,143ft above sea level. Team looks to be very diverse and eager and are happy to have them here we just fed them and put them to bed. They are eager and ready to rock and roll on Mt. Vinson. So stay tuned for the next update ciao for now.

December 21, 2004
Team III Mt. Vinson Expedition flew safely from Punta Arenas to Union Glacier yesterday. They are currently waiting for the weather to improve before they can fly to Vinson Basecamp.

December 21, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there friends, family and loved ones. This is Team Hot Lips down in Antarctica reporting in and we are unhappy to say that the weather did not cooperate today. Everybody felt good after we woke up everybody was healthy and not feeling the altitude but the weather shut down in the evening over night clouds came in winds came up it made for a very challenging situation. But we rose to the occasion and we decided to push on in the face of the storm and we actually were able to climb the mountain today. We summited at 7:00 and got back down in time for a wonderful steak and French fried potato dinner that Todd fixed up. Everybody went to bed happy so everybody is o.k. and in good spirits but very tired we are going to sleep in in the morning, every member made it to the top of Mt. Vinson. We are very happy to report that so thank you for dropping in and checking on us. We are all doing good and heading down to try to catch the plane out of here as soon as possible. So remember all the 143 reasons why we love you. Ciao for now.

December 20, 2004
Hello everyone out there! This is Dave Morton and Kristine Kitayama calling in from Punta Arenas where Mt. Vinson team III has arrived safely. Yesterday around noon the last of this group pulled into town and we are now all assembled in the Hotel Tierra del Fuego. The group attended a briefing for our flight to "the ice" yesterday morning and last night we had a nice dinner. Igor, who took 3 days to finally make it here, elected to catch up on some sleep but otherwise we had the team all together for steak and lovely Chilean wine. During dessert Johnny egged on Cleve to a pole climbing challenge out in the parking lot and in this first go 'round wisdom edged out youthful energy. I think there will be some more challenges to come though as Johnny looks for ways to spend time here in Punta Arenas.

Our first opportunity to get to Union Glacier will be around dinner time tonight. We'll be waiting for a call around that time to see if we'll get to fly out this evening. Otherwise, we will begin the patient standby process in the morning waiting for the best flight conditions to begin the Antarctic journey.

The team here is composed of Guy from Arizona, Cleve from Anchorage, Tom from Chicago and the father-son duo of Brian and Johnny from California. Our International contingent is made up of Shige and Katori from Tokyo and Igor from far east Russia. It's a great group and we've already been having an enjoyable time here in PA together. Hopefully the time here won't last too long so these guys can get climbing! We'll send in some updates later on.
Dave, Kristine and the team

December 19, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there cybernauts this is Team Hot Lips at High Camp on Mt. Vinson Antarctica and I don't know if you know it but it is colder than it looks. We are just dozing into our restful sleep before summit day. Today was filled full of eating, drinking and sleeping. We got up here the day before and decided we were going to rest, keeping our fingers crossed that the weather was going to hold for another day so that we would be rested and more than willing to go for the summit. At this time the weather is fairly calm, -20 below Fahrenheit and it is approaching 1:43 in the morning. So its getting late but be aware we are in position and the team is pretty psyched up we are well rested and all we need a little luck with the weather and with your best wishes we will make it to the top. So stay tuned to our next cybercast to find out wether Team Hot Lips is going to stand on the roof of the Great White Continent. Ciao for now sweep dreams.

December 18, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there cybernauts this is Team Hot Lips at Camp II. We have now moved our camp up and had a great dinner of fish and corn on the cob and put everyone to bed. Todd is just passing a hot water bottle to them and they are dreaming summit dreams as we speak. If the weather is good tomorrow and if everyone feels good we are going to take a shot at the summit. However there are a lot of variables out there so currently we are just standing by. Talk about variables just yesterday a British climber fell into a crevasse on our trail on the route up to Camp II and went in about 5 meters. This is not a place to be taken lightly fortunately Todd was able to probe his away around that crevasse. Today when I was in the same vacinity I stuck my foot into one as well we are happy to be still be at the surface. Currently camped at 13,000ft or 3985.143 meters just to be exact and we see a real nice light of the sun slowly sets behind the mountain and it becomes gold. We have been wearing our down suites today for the first time since... transmission failure

December 17, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there all you cybercats. This is Team Hot Lips at Camp I down in Antartica on the site of Mt. Vinson. Today was very productive day, once again up at the crack of noon and out by 2:30. After a wonderful breakfast of French toast, bacon, and strawberries oh my goodness. Hey, not to belabor the point but we were able to get all of our food and fuel for the rest of the trip (up to Camp I)so we are in a very wonderful position. Having the ability to handle a storm either here or at this camp or at high camp for several days and still be in position to go to the summit. Temperature currently is -14.3 Celsius and we are still located here at Camp I but we will be heading up as soon as the the weather allows. So hopefully tomorrow when the sun comes up we will go up to Camp II which is our high camp here. So please stay tuned for further messages from Team Hot Lips. Ciao for now.

December 16, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there cybernauts, this is Team Hot Lips, Vern Tejas here, just updating you on our progress on the mountain.  Today we broke our camp bright and early and hit the trail at about 12:00 noon.  That seems to be a good time here.  Day and night is a little bit different down here.  Day is when the sun is shining, night is when the sun is behind the mountain, because it gets really cold, so we get in our sleeping bags.  So we hit the trail at the crack of noon, and worked our way up here, made fairly good time, even Theresa was impressed with the pace today.  We set up camp here at 29,143 meters above sea level... Excuse me Keith has got a different correction, of course his watch is different, but hey it all works out in the end.  And we're safely ensconced in our cute little cook tent, we call it the Tea House, named after Vern Teahouse, the guy who designed it, no, I'm kidding of course.  We're sucking down soup, our cook, Todd Passey, has been furiously working away at the stoves and what is it tonight Todd? Ah, Broccoli Ravioli and a side of hamburger, followed up by granny cakes, so it sounds like an all-star cast tonight after we finish our soup and crackers.  So thanks for joining us and please stay tuned for the further adventures of Team Hot Lips.

December 15, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there friends family and loved ones this is Team Hot Lips. Vern Tejas and Todd Passey are here at Base Camp on Mount Vinson in Antarctica and about 7,143 feet above sea level. And today was a wonderful day, it stayed overcast for the most part, which means that is was cool, and that's a good thing when you are carrying loads up to 10,000 feet. We loaded food and fuel on our sleds and the whole team pulled together in order to move a load up to our site of camp I, so we're in good shape.

The weather is holding, temperatures are varying from 10 degrees above zero to what seems to be quite a bit hotter when the sun shines on us directly. I guess it feels more like 40 when there is no wind and the sun is out. And when you are hauling a sled and carrying a big pack then of course it feels like a lot of heat. Currently we are praying that we get a little overcast, however today for the first time the mountain is out, everybody got a chance to see it, so everybody is quite joyous about that and the Team is in good spirits, a little tired after the haul today but everybody is feeling good and we are happy to be here and working away at our goal. So please stay tuned for further adventures of Team Hot Lips and find out what happens tomorrow when we strive for Camp I. Ciao for now.

December 15, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there cybernauts, this is Team Hot Lips. Hot Lips has made it to the big white continent of Antarctica.  Not only that but the weather was working in our favor.  So we are now at Base Camp, high on the flanks at 7,143 feet above sea level.  (That's just an approximation of course).  And we're prepping our gear to make a carry up to Camp I.  So The weather finally came around and proved in our favor and we are now getting ready to launch into the climb.  Ciao for now.

December 12, 2004
Hello out there in cyberland. This is Todd Passey signing in with Alpine Ascents Team II Mt. Vinson expedition.From here on out we have decided to call ourselves team hot lips, which was decided upon enthusiastically the first evening we were all together. I would like to introduce all the players for this expedition. This team is an experiencedone with Everest, Denali, Aconcagua and many of the worlds high and beautiful peaksfilling their resumes. Kiek Stam a retired business man and grandfatherfrom Holland;  Charlie Hyde, and exporter from Washington; Henrik Olsen, a teacherhailing from Denmark, Lionel and Teresa Lavenue, Attorneysout of Virginia and James Clarke, businessmanrepresenting California.

The team has assembled here in Punta Arenas, where we are awaiting good weather so we can safely fly to Union Glacier, where we will meet up with Vernand then to base camp to begin our climb.On Monday we attended a presentation by ALE, the air service we will fly in with. There we were briefed on the flight procedures, the logisticsand the decision making process of when to fly.Today is the second day of waiting, but we all know and understandthat if the pilot says it is not safe to fly we should not doubt. We have weighed are our bags, loaded them onto the plane and are now checking in every two hours to see if the weather has improved. In the meantime we are filling our days walking the streets of Punta Arenas, visiting the penguin colony, polishing the shoe of the statue of Magellan for good luck and eating wonderful food. So although we are all anxious to get on with it we are enjoying what we have here.


December 10, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there cybernauts, this is Team TNT calling in from Antarctica, Union Glacier. This will be our last call in for this particular expedition.  We just want to say thank you for tuning in and following our action up the mountain, Vinson and now that it's over, I just want everybody to know that the people have flown out and are now in Punta Arenas and are making all preparations for coming home. So that's Ken and Mark and Chip, all on the way home.  So thanks for tuning in and we really appreciate all of your prayers and good wishes, that's ciao for now form Antarctica, Vern Tejas, Signing off.

December 10, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there cybernauts, loved ones, families, friends, this is Vern Tejas calling in for Team TNT from Union Glacier, latitude 80S, Longitude 80W.  Say there guys and gals, we just said goodbye to my team, Mark, Ken and Chip, sent 'em off on the airplane.  We woke up quite early this morning, about 9:00 after our full day of going for the summit yesterday, it was sunny and calm so we packed up our tents, stuffed our bags and headed down to the Base Camp of Mount Vinson, from there we were treated to a flight, a very expedient flight out to Union Glacier, we just had salmon dinner and, saying goodbye to all of our friends that we made here, one of which included Gabby, or Gabrielle Lucsic, who became the first Chilean woman to stand on top of the highest point in Antarctica.  And also we said goodbye to Rob and Katrina who just got married on the summit of Mount Vinson.  Sending them off with Ken and Mark and Chip, they're heading back to Punta Arenas, and I'm just finally relaxing after a week of climbing and enjoying the wonderful white wilderness of Antarctica.  So you guys fly safe and fly home soon.  They just took off at 5:14.3am on the 10th and they are on their way to the tip of South America, Punta Arenas, Chile, so you should be seeing your loved ones very soon.  That's pretty much it for Team TNT, so ciao for now from Antarctica.

December 8, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there cybernauts, Team TNT, successfully back at high camp after a wonderful day climbing Vinson, up scaling to the highest point on Antarctica. We are now at 12,814.3 feet above sea level, enjoyed a great steak dinner with fries on the side and chocolate ice cream topped everything off. All members are tired all members are very happy and we are very much in thanks for all your good wishes coming our way. So thank you very much and stand by for the next chapter in this saga, that would be the descent down the headwall, so stay tuned ciao for now.

December 8, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Friends, Family, loved ones, this is Team TNT signing in from the top of Antarctica! It's a beautiful day, it's calm and it's clear and we've got a whole stack of climbers up here, everybody's elated, everybody's happy, we're taking photos, we're giving rounds of congratulations back-slapping, hugs, high fives and everybody is just having a great old time, right here on top of the highest point in Antarctica. Beautiful day, we got up here at 5:30, the whole team is here, James, Mark, Ken and myself, and we're looking right now to the north and we can see Tyree, the second highest, Mount Shinn sticking out, Gardner, Eperlee, it's a beautiful sight, you look to the south and there's at least a half a dozen unclimbed peaks just right up close and if you look off into the distance and there's a thousand more. So it's a beautiful day, the whole team has pulled together and they're digging the summit of Mount Vinson. We want to thank you guys for praying for us and keeping your fingers crossed and giving us all those good wishes all 143 of them, they really mean a lot to us, thank you so much, this is Vern Tejas form the top of Antarctica, ciao for now, whoo hoo!

December 7, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there cybernauts, friends family, loved ones, this is Team TNT, high on the flanks of Mount Vinson. We're at Camp II, we came up yesterday in a blizzard, in a storm and today fortunately our efforts paid off with a nice wonderful day. The contrast has been perfect for us. We were able to take a little siesta, the sun is out, it got up to 93 degrees inside our cook tent it was quite the wonderful thing. We're camped here at 12,814.3 feet above sea level. Tomorrow, the weather, knock on wood, will be blessed as well, and we'll be able to walk up the 3,300 feet to the summit and then back down. We are anticipating an 8 hour one-way to the summit and then probably about 4 hours back down, so we are looking at a 12-hour day, hopefully the weather will stay warm, all the people that's Ken, who is my tent partner, both Chip and Mark who are camped next door and are sharing a tent as well, are all in good spirits and we're well rested, we're acclimatized, we're, we're antsy to get under way. The storm held us up, but we're hoping that the extra days will help for our acclimatization hopefully tomorrow, you will see that even though we had to wait, it was well worth the extra wait. So please send your wishes and prayers this way for a good clean shot at it tomorrow on the summit, the top of Mount Vinson, the highest point in Antarctica. So stay tuned, Ciao for now.

December 6, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there cybercats, this is Team TNT at Camp II, our high camp on Mount Vinson.  What a day it was.  We fell for our sucker-hole this morning.  We got up and it looked like it was starting to clear up a little bit, the wind was starting to drop and we were ever so hopeful, so we packed up our tents and stuffed our sleeping bags, put them on our backs and walked up the valley of wind.  As soon as we turned the corner we got hit with 20 knots on the nose, and at these temperatures, that is really cold. 

We were able to force our way up to the camp, it definitely was a real drain of energy on all of us, but we got camp set up, it's just a little after 2:00 in the morning, and we're at 12,814.3 feet above sea level, and just tucking in.  Fortunately as most of you know, the sun is up all of the time here, I guess I can't imagine trying to do this in the dark.  So we're happily ensconced in our sleeping bags, and going to sleep in late tomorrow.  So thank you very much for wishing us the best, we've got our hopes up that the storm will diminish tomorrow and after we take a rest day we will shoot for the summit.  Stay tuned for the further adventures of Team TNT.

December 5, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there cybercats, this is Team TNT at Camp I on Mount Vinson.  Storm has got us down again.  Been blowing up around the corner and above us on the ridge and we are just laying low and hoping that the storm is going to blow through.  Fortunately we are properly protected behind the big massif of Vinson itself.  So today we spent some time making walls, trading stories, playing music and then we had a great feast, we invited some Chileans over from another team and had a chocolate fondue dessert, we dipped in strawberries and dried apples and peaches and it was just wonderful to have company from another team share a little talking and just socializing, it was wonderful.  Found out that one of our guests was originally from Croatia, a little place called Split, that was really fascinating to me to find that theses Chileans were from all these unique places in the world and that was quite a revelation to me, I always think of Chileans being Chilean, but like Americans they're from all over, their ancestors come from many different places in the world.  Anyway, it was a wonderful afternoon of socializing  and laying low, we're keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that the storm soon blows itself out, so you too think of us here, and send us 143 wishes for success and happiness and we sure appreciate that.  Ciao for now.

December 4, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there friends family and loved ones this is Team TNT, down in Antarctica on the sides of Mount Vinson. We are at Camp I, we have had a storm/rest day today. We could see little white tornados moving down the glacier around the corner and decided to avoid those. So we laid low and worked on our camp and the boys, Ken, Chip, and Mark have built a wall around their tents that almost emulates an igloo, they've been out there so long, that I had to finally pull them in for salmon dinner tonight, they seemed to enjoy that along with the vanilla pudding. That's only to be upstaged by last night's dinner of cob corn and steak, which was quite delicious.

One of the things we have entertained today is the penguins and the polar bears. We've been trying to stay away from them, just a couple of polar bears, but 143 penguins marched through camp today so we took a lot of photos and we would love to share with you a little later on. In the meantime, we are keeping our fingers crossed for good weather to move through. We have heard from the Chilean air force that the storm is supposed to last for three days, but we are hoping they are wrong, because we would like to move up the mountain to our second camp and hopefully start getting acclimatized for our summit bid. Keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned for further adventures of Team TNT!

December 3, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there cybercats, this is Team TNT, pinned down in Camp I. Yesterday we were able to make a carry up to Camp II, it was a beautiful day, however when we turned the corner we got hit with some very Antarctic-type winds. It made us all quite cold and we pulled on most of the gear that we have been carrying, wondering why we had it, so now we know. We were able to work our way up in about 6 hours to about almost 13,000 feet on the north side of the mountain, the massif, right in the col between Mt. Shinn, which is the third highest, and Vinson itself which of course is the highest on the continent.

It was rather inclement up there so we didn't spend much time, we just buried our cache, beat feet back down to our Camp I. As we retreated we could hear the storm building, we could feel it on our backs, and tomorrow morning it will be very windy we are guessing. So thank you very much for staying tuned, oh and for those people who like specs, we're about negative 14.3 degrees Celsius and currently calm in our Camp I, however we can hear the wind just around the corner, so keep your fingers crossed for good weather. That's it, ciao for now.

December 2, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hey there friends, family, loved ones, this is Team TNT checking in from Camp I on the flanks of Mt. Vinson.  We had a wonderful move today, we started off in a sea of clouds, a low fog was laying in and covering everything, but as we climbed up, we were able to climb right through the sea of clouds and the mountain appeared and it turned into quite a gorgeous day.  People are feeling the altitude, but we all seem to be in good spirits, We had a meal this evening, that, well, it defies description really, when you think about it.  And then we topped that off with a little bit of puddin'. 

So we're all safely ensconced in our sleeping bags right now and enjoying the midnight sun, it's just about midnight, a little bit after actually.  And it's still warming our tent up, however the mountains just to the east of us, so that when morning comes the sun won't be here until actually about noon, so we're going to sleep in tomorrow, it'll be real fun, looking forward to that.  Currently we got here about 6:00, 6:14.3 actually, it took us a little bit less time than it did yesterday, so I think we're starting to acclimatize and that's a good thing.  Thanks for staying tuned and keep your fingers crossed for that good weather and we look forward to talking with you maņana.  That's it from Camp I on Vinson, ciao for now.

December 1, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there cybernauts, friends family, loved ones, this is Vern Tejas with Team TNT at Vinson Base Camp.  Today started off beautifully and continued that way.  We got so much sun, most of us got a little bit fried on the face, but we were able to get a load of food and fuel and excess clothing up to Camp I, which is about 6 miles from here, up and around the corner, at the base of the massif itself, at about 9,114.3 feet (that's an approximation of course).  It's very long and beautiful, mountains jumping up all around, we could see the tops of Mt. Shinn, which is the third highest and Epperly, which is the fourth highest and even Gardner sticking it's head up, so we ended up seeing some of the highest mountains in Antarctica today as we went around the corner. Very beautiful, very enjoyable. 

Everybody is fairly psyched that the weather is holding and we were able to move our camp up, so tomorrow we are planning on actually moving sleeping bags, tents, and such, stoves and everything and our bodies as well up to the Camp I location.  So we are actually making some progress here, and just want you guys to know that we are thinking of you out there and miss every one of you. But we are climbing the mountain so stay tuned for further adventures of Team TNT!

November 30, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there friends, family loved ones, this is Team TNT, reporting in from Base Camp on Mount Vinson, Antarctica.  It's been a very full day for us, we got up at the crack of 10:30 and enjoying a very fine pancake breakfast this morning.  We launched right into knot-tying, a little bit of anchors and then we did a review of our crevasse rescue systems. Before we go out on this glacier, we want to make sure we end up all coming back.  So we practiced that for a while today and got organized, everybody is getting ready to pick up their loads for tomorrow and then we'll be off and up the hill to Camp I. 

So everything is copasetic with the team, people are in high spirits, and we are feeling the altitude, but just a little bit.  Fortunately it was acclimatization day for us, so we should be in good shape for tomorrow.  So please stay tuned and come and visit us again, this is Vern Tejas signing off for Team TNT.

November 29, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there cybernauts, this is Vern Tejas with Alpine Ascents Vinson #1, that's Team TNT.  And patience is a virtue, a little will not hurt you, or so they say.  And a little has helped us out actually.  We spent one day waiting and this morning bright and early about 5:45, we got a phone call saying the weather was clear in Union Glacier, so we hustled our bustle, loaded the bus, went out to the airport, and jumped on the Illuyshin 76, which is a big Russian plane, which flew us from the tip of South America, all the way to Union Glacier, and here we are in the land of plenty. The sun is shining bright, dead calm and we were able to get all the way to Vinson Base Camp. 

We are at about 7,814.3 feet above sea level, that's an approximation of course.  And everybody is feeling the altitude, so we are moving very slow, trying to get acclimatized.  We are elated to be here, and the first thing we are going to do is enjoy the view.  The second thing we are going to do is pitch camp and get acclimatized.  So we'll be spending the night here, we'll see how we feel in the morning, if we're feeling good we may take a load up, or we might just do crevasse rescue and figure out our loads for the next day.  But I just want to tell you that we have made it here, thank you for checking on us, thank you for your prayers and best wishes, they obviously paid off, so thanks a lot to all of our friends and loved ones out there, this is Team TNT from Antarctica, the great white continent, ciao for now.

November 27, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello there cybernauts, this is Vern Tejas with Alpine Ascents Vinson #1, we are now officially known as Team TNT.  We're still located in the southern port city of Punta Arenas, Chile.  We tried to fly today but we got to the airport and found out that the weather had changed in Antarctica, and we were no longer able to fly, so we've been stood down for tonight and we've gone back to our hotels and we are patiently biding our time, hopefully we'll get out tomorrow.  Toady we went for a run, stayed in good shape, and packed and repacked to get our kit down to the smallest possible size, so that we can get everything on the airplane.  Everybody is in fine spirits, we are actually having a little seafood to eat tonight, scallops, because we are right on the water, we are about 143 feet away from the actual coast of the Straits of Magellan, so we are just right on the ocean side.  We are having a great meal and are looking forward to going to Antarctica tomorrow.  So stay tuned and we'll talk to you tomorrow, ciao for now.

November 26, 2004 Click for CallListen To Vern's Call
Hello cybernauts, this is Vern Tejas at the tip of South America in the great city of Punta Arenas.  Punta Arenas Chile, and it's right on the Magellan Straits. It's a beautiful rainy day here. The wind has finally died down. Yesterday we had gusts of 120 knots right here in downtown Punta Arenas.  I was happy to go to the airport and meet the team.  Both Mark and Chip came in early and Ken followed up, the whole team is now assembled.  We've got our food packed and weighed our gear, and everything loaded up on the airplane in hopes that tomorrow, we'll take off bright and early for the white continent of Antarctica. 

The team looks to be very fit, they've got quite a bit of experience doing things such as Denali and Cotopaxi and many other mountains amongst them, so I'm looking really forward to working with this team.  Several of them have been to as high as 23,000 feet on Aconcagua, so it's a good team, a good attitude and everybody's happy to be here and getting down to the ice.  So please stay tuned for the adventures of... the new team, which doesn't have a name yet, I was just getting ready to say it, we're going to have to come up with that and we're off to Antarctica hopefully tomorrow to climb Mount Vinson, so stand by and ciao for now.

 

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