(12:36 EST via satellite phone from Dan)
About a week ago we left Low Camp at 9,000 ft and went up the very steep headwall as well as the rest of the mountain to High Camp at 13,000 ft. We encountered very high winds on the way, blizzard conditions, and spent two nights up there with the winds blowing at 40-60 km per hour. It was -14 degrees Celcius inside the tent in the morning. We got a radio report that conditions were going to get worse and that the wind was going to double and we made the tough decision about going back down to Low Camp where there was less wind – which we did.
We spent three days at Low Camp and got continuous reports of the very high winds at High Camp so we did make the right decision. The tent that we had left at High Camp and that we had used was covered in snow and was demolished.
After the third day, which was Christmas Day, two important things happened. One was not so good and that is that the winds came down to Low Camp and we were faced with winds in the range of 60-70 and 80 km per hour in gusts. Anyone that didn’t have a tent that was secured with snow block walls, they were busy making those block walls.
The other thing that happened, we did get a report that our weather window was improving and that we were expecting some good weather and so on December 26 we headed up to High Camp. We had some beautiful weather. It was supposed to take 6 to 8 hours but we were ready and it took us 4 hours and 20 minutes.
The next morning, December 27, we headed up for our summit bid. At 2:20 pm December 27 we made it to the top of Mount Vinson, the highest point in Antarctica, and for me the seventh summit. The view is absolutely spectacular here and we are looking at a breathtaking...
(Note from Susanne: The last paragraph was dictated by Dan with much emotion in his voice, and unfortunately his transmission was cut off before he could finish, due to the limitations of voice mail.)