2007-2008 Mount Vinson Cybercast
December 20, 2007
Hi this is Winslow for the Trunk Monkeys – we are stuck here at Union Glacier, Antarctica. Its been snowing most of the day, pretty warm at minus 5 degrees Celsius, its usually minus 12 degrees at this time of the year. Quite a bit warmer then normal with much more snow then usual. It hasnt been too boring as we got out and practiced fixed line ascending and descending – we watched the volleyball game and there was also a marathon – trudging through deep snow – were reading, kiting , eating good food and hanging out – well keep our fingers crossed for tomorrow and send love to friends and family – ciao
December 19, 2007
Hi this is Winslow calling in. I have some good news and some more good news. We have a team name. We are the Trunk Monkeys. We also flew into Union Glacier today. We have just arrived and had dinner and received our briefing. Now we are about to set up tents as we cannot fly this evening because its cloudy at Vinson base camp. Well be staying here at Union Glacier this evening, hoping to fly into Vinson base camp tomorrow morning. We didnt get to fly in earlier this morning, but we did leave around 2 oclock so we actually got to sleep in. We didnt have to do the early wake up. Every bodys doing great. Its actually pretty warm here. Its only -5 degrees Celsius. We had to lay her down hiking over here from the airplane over here to Union Glacier, which is about a 15 minute walk. Were doing great, excited to be down here on the continent of Antarctica. Well give you a call tomorrow and let you know if we make it into base camp. Ciao.
December 18, 2007
Hi this is Winslow calling in the Vinson climbing team. Today is Tuesday and we are heading back to Punta Arenas. The other team that was ahead of us flew out today so we are hoping that the weather will hold and we will be able to fly out tomorrow morning. We had a beautiful foray up to the Torres del Paine National Park, we really lucked out with the weather and had a beautiful hiking day yesterday. We hiked five miles or so up to this beautiful glacial lake just below the Torres Mountains and had great weather and great views all day. A lot of the hike was along side a river, with lots of ups and downs, we also had to hike up a steep bolder field to get up to the lake and some people took a swim when we got up there. We had a nice lunch then we came back down to our little recurso that we are staying in. This morning we visited two different water falls and we also saw a family of fox with three babies and we were able to watch them play for a little while. It has been a great visit up here to the park and we are keeping our fingers crossed that we are going to be able to fly out tomorrow. Thanks for tuning in and we will keep you posted. Ciao.
Torres Del Paine
Los Cuernos (The Horns) Mountains
Salta Grande Waterfall
The Team with Views of Torres Del Paine
December 17, 2007
Hola, this is Winslow calling in for the Mount Vinson crew. We are in the Torres Paine National Park. Were enjoying taking a few days off from being able to leave with our weather forecast as it is. They gave us a three day leave so were here in the park enjoying that. Yesterday we drove up and saw many of the parks wildlife. We saw condors, guanacos, flamingos, and various other birds along the way. We stopped and had lunch in a town called Puerto Natales, which is on a large very beautiful lake. We had some great seafood there and just enjoyed the trip up. Were staying in Refugio, which is also very nice. Were taking a four hour hike today to a lake at the base of the Torres Paine Mountain. Everyone is doing great. Were still working on a team name. Well get back to you with that. Thanks for tuning in. Well let you know how our arctic experience is going.
December 15, 2007
Hello from Punta Arenas from the first Alpine Ascents crew attempting to reach the ice. Everyone made it here safely and with all baggage on board. We have a great group of climbers including; Martin Grieder (Switzerland), Simon Irish (New York), Michael Hsu (California), and Serge Massad (Ontario). The guides are Todd and Winslow Passey (Utah).
We had our logistical meeting this morning with ALE (Antarctica Logistics Expiditions), the company that carries us all down to this mystical continent. It included a very interesting slide show, instructions of do´s and don´ts (such as lying on the runway to take a photo as a plane fly´s in), and tea and biscuits to wash it down.
Unfortunately, the weather is not cooperating, and we have flight delays. There is a group ahead of us waiting to fly in as well. It has been snowing in Union Glacier, dumping 20-30cm of fresh snow on the runway, that must be cleared before landing. This process takes 36hr. after the wind stops to remove the snow. Most groups have retreated from high camp, and are hunkering down at base camp.
With a forecaster predicting the weather for ALE this season, they have given us a 72hr. release of check in responsibilities. This means we do not have to stay in Punta Arenas, so we are arranging a trip out to Torres Del Paine National Park. We hope to get in a hike and a few good views of the towering granite peaks and the picturesque glacial lakes.
Everyone says hello to their friends and family! Go Navy! (from Michael)!! We´ll keep you posted, but it does not look like we can fly until Thursday at the earliest.