Expedición Monte Tyree - Antartica

Dec 24

Dispatch #15

Published at 17:53
Dispatch created from email
Hello again,

So we spent a couple of days up at Vinson Low Camp, in our new tents, surrounded by mega-walls, sitting out some so-so weather. Was
also good to catch up with Dave Hahn, coming down from his record 25th summit of Vinson, with two of his clients that had elected to
stay on and summit after the carnage.

Then on the 20th we all headed up Vinson, as per the acclimatisation plan. Camilo and I went up the new normal route, not using the
ropes, but appreciating its more direct nature than the old route, with less objective danger. We climbed around 1000m in three
hours or so, Camilo carrying his skis too, reaching the new Repeater Camp and continuing on.

But the action was with the girls, trying a new route on the west face. The northern end of the main west face of Vinson is bordered
by a blunt buttress. Just around to the north from this is a 1200m high section of the face that had no routes on it, but several
promising lines. Jarmila and Pachi picked out a line and headed off for it just before 7pm.

Back up on the summit plateau, it was 10pm, I was at 4175m and surrounded by swirling whiteout. Couldn't see a thing. I decided I'd
got the height I needed and didn't need to go higher - a 4th summit of Vinson by the normal route wasn't getting me psyched. Camilo
was a bit behind so I went down to him and we discussed what to do. Being much nicer than me, Camilo didn't mind waiting for the
girls to pop up over the crest of the wall to our west. I made my way down, leaving Camilo standing gallantly in the blowing snow.
Around midnight the girls materialised over the top of the wall, having climbed a new 1200m mixed route - the first new route to be
done on Vinson by an all-female team.

Around this time the weather suddenly cleared, so they elected to continue on up the normal route to the main summit of Vinson,
which they reached at 5am in a return of zero visibility. It was Pachi's first ascent of Vinson (3rd Chilean woman), Camilo's 3rd
ascent and Jarmila became the first Slovakian woman to summit Vinson. They then made their way down, reaching Low Camp at 1020am on
the 21st.

After lots of sleep we all left Low Camp late on the 22nd and headed west for "Sam's Col" - the saddle leading out of the upper
Branscombe that used to be part of the Vinson normal route until the mid-90s. The other (west) side of this col has got steeper over
the years, one of the reasons it fell out of use, so it took some time to carry our loads down to the flat ice on the other side,
via a descending traverse on steep slopes and a short nasty section of hard water-ice. The other three did a second carry while I
went ahead with a sled to our Epperly Camp to set up the tents.

That was two days ago. Today, Christmas Eve, Camilo and Pachi erected a Christmas tree out of skis, bamboo wands, climbing hardware,
assorted bits and pieces and some special Christmas stuff they'd packed ages ago. That was the activity for the day, while we
watched the weather finally clear over the big peaks with just some strong winds remaining up high. Hopefully Christmas Day will
bring the gift of more blue sky - the first for weeks - and low winds. And we'll resume our appointment with Mount Epperly . . .

Images:
- Pachi and the Xmas tree
- Pachi and Jarmila's new route on Vinson's west face
- Jarmila on the route


luego,
D.

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