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Back at Union Glacier

Jim and Garrett made it down safely from High Camp and all the way back to Union Glacier in one day (yesterday). No doubt the trek down was one filled with satisfaction. The anticipation and nerves that are often present on the ascent are gone allowing you to take in your surroundings with a new appreciation. And then there's the incredible flight back to Union Glacier which is stunning in every regard. 

Union Glacier can feel like a small town after being gone for a while, and the creature comforts it provides make it a wonderful place to spend time. 

If weather cooperates they hope to make it back to Punta Arenas today. This will be the completion of a very long journey for Jim (the Seven Summits) and one step closer to a different goal (the Grand Slam). 

We will keep you posted. Hopefully the next blog will be posted from Punta Arenas!

Below: Union Glacier basecamp

If you enjoy these blogs please check out our Mount Vinson expedition and South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition.

Vinson Summit!

We just received word that Jim and Garrett reached the summit of Mount Vinson today at 1:35 CST. We are so happy for them and especially proud of Jim for whom this marks the completion of his Seven Summits.

More to come later, when they are back at High Camp and have had a chance to rest. Check back again soon!

Below: The summit of Mt. Vinson (from previous expedition)

If you enjoy these blogs please check out our Mount Vinson expedition and South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition.

Rest Day At High Camp

Jim and Garrett had a nice and relaxing rest day though the nylon on the tent was surely flapping. They awoke to cold temperatures of -25 F with a stiff 15-20 knot wind. There's nothing sweeter than awaking to foul weather and being able to sleep in knowing you don't have to go outside. The tent takes on an oasis feel to it and you count your blessings all the more. 

What do you do on a rest day? Rest! Or write, play cards if you have them, chat with a friend, read if you have a book or watch a movie on a device. The main goal is to let your body recuperate and acclimatize to the higher altitude. Jim and Garrett did all those things today and they are ready for their summit attempt. The forecast is for improving conditions overnight. If they awake to good weather they will go for the summit. If the weather still has some improving to do they'll wait until the next day. We will keep you posted!

To conserve their sat phone battery they opted not to send an audio dispatch tonight. They want to relay to everyone that they are comfortable, warm, rested and excited for the summit. 

Check back again tomorrow!

Below: Another view of yesterday's fixed line ascent, approaching the top (previous expedition). Thanks to PE guide Taylor Sweitzer for the pic.

If you are enjoying this blog check out our Mount Vinson Expedition page for more information about the expedition.

Ascending to High Camp

Today Jim and Garrett ascended from Vinson's Low Camp to High Camp. This is a fairly significant climb of nearly 3,000 feet up a steep slope with fixed lines. While not a complex ascent it is certainly not easy, with burdensome packs and steep pitches. It's slow work with a lot of heavy breathing. One step, then another, then maybe a short pause before repeating, over and over again. By the time you reach the end of the fixed lines and ascend a little further into the camp it is common to be completely exhausted. Fortunately the view (when you find the energy to look around) is incredible with the vastness of Antarctica spilling from of the mountains below.

High Camp is typically a small tent city, with multiple teams in various stages of their summit attempts. We like to climb Vinson after our Last Degree expedition for a few reasons: one of them is that by the time we get there most other Vinson teams have completed their climbs and we tend to have the mountain to ourselves (or at least almost to ourselves). It's certainly not the hustle and bustle of earlier in the season. This makes it all the more special. 

Jim and Garrett plan to take a rest day at High Camp before attempting to reach the summit the following day. Weather is always a factor and they will keep their eye on the forecast. After today's ascent a little R & R will be good for the body (and soul!)

Make sure to listen to Jim's audio update here & check back again tomorrow for another update from the team. 

Audio Update continuation here.

Below: The top of the fixed lines before heading towards High Camp. (From a previous expedition - that's Keith in the photo)

If you are enjoying this blog check out our Mount Vinson Expedition page for more information about the expedition.

Vinson team makes it to Low Camp

After receiving a "no-go" on the flight to Vinson Base Camp last night (poor visibility at Vinson) they awoke at Union Glacier to good news - the weather had cleared and the flight was on. If you want a recap of what the flight is like to Vinson Base Camp read yesterday's blog. In short it is AMAZING. Absolutely stunning - and we are so glad they had perfect weather to enjoy it at its best. After arriving at Vinson Base Camp the boys (Jim and Garrett) headed up the valley to Low Camp. For Jim it was likely a refreshing change to have something to look at with every passing step. It's not that the Last Degree has no views, but it's a lot of white! White and blue...or white and grey... or just plain white. But today on Vinson it was a bluebird day. This surely made the trek to Low Camp phenomenal. Mountains flank the sides of the valley that they ascended and every time they looked up they were surely thinking to themselves "this is awesome!" Tomorrow they plan to ascend to High Camp. They will likely have a morning that's not rushed. Low Camp is in a shadow in the early morning making it a cold place. As soon as the sun appears over the peaks of the surrounding mountains everything feels easier and more welcoming - a good reason to sleep in an extra half hour or two! 

Jim posted two wonderful audio dispatches. Make sure to have a listen!

Jim Lumberg's Audio Dispatch (part 1)

Jim Lumberg's Audio Dispatch (part 2)

Below: Vinson Base Camp, which they left this morning. Thanks to SP/Vinson Alum Michael Creasy for the photo 

If you enjoy these blogs please check out our Mount Vinson expedition and South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition.

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