Monday, December 20, 2010

The Route

Compared to Mt. Everest this climb is happening very quickly. The family flew from Union Glacier by small propeller plane to Mt. Vinson Base Camp at 2,150m (7,000 ft) on the Branscomb Glacier where you get a great view of the summit pyramid of Mt. Vinson and several surrounding peaks. There they did an acclimatization climb, practiced climbing as a team, and reviewed some technical climbing techniques. They followed the gradual slope of the Branscomb Glacier roped together due to crevasse hazards to Low Camp at 2,880 m (9,100 ft). At Low Camp they rested for a day. Today, they left for High Camp at 4,000 m (13,200 ft). To get there they have to traverse the spur at the northern end of the Branscomb Ridge. This involves ascending fixed ropes on some 45 degree slopes of snow, rock and blue ice. This will be a very strenuous and tiring climb. I assume they will rest a day or two at High camp before tackling the final ascent to the top - weather permitting. The route to the summit rises 900 m (3,000 ft) in a short distance. The final climb is on hard snow and ice slopes. I'm holding my breathe.

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