Vinson Massif: Post 5

We go to bed early around 9pm had a better day recovering from the head wall.  The alpine accent team made it to high camp at 10:30 and set up camp beside us until midnight, I sleep ok, but others are awake late.  We see the wisp form the top of the mountain which mean high winds.  I wake at 3am with sun still high and feel good confidence restored.

Summit push roped together 

We start climbing around 10am with calm wind and not a cloud in the sky.  Tent mate Mike had a bloody nose and had a hard night he takes the lead and sets a comfortable pace for a very long day.  We will climb vertical 3,600 ft and around 10 miles horizontal.  Two teams leave for the summit our group and ALE.  After hours of going up we reach a point on the last push where we drop our poles and climb on to the final rocky summit ridge.  We traverse the narrow ridge for about 100 yards a rocky up and down while rope together. I am not in control of my pace and get winded I am feeling the altitude, the fixed rope scrambling is uncomfortable after a few minutes we finally arrive.  The wind is blowing and the temp is -35 with wind chill -50.  We don’t have long exposed to this wind and cold.  The summit is a very small spot that all five cant fit plus the other team joins us our ropes get crossed and is messy at the top.  Two cameras come out and I choose to leave mine in my bag and my glolves on.  We hurry back down both our team and the other group on the top at the same time and now we are experiencing cold injury’s, frost bite.  We rush down grab our poles and continue down trying to find shelter from the wind so we can access our injury’s.  We have 2 members with multiple fingers frozen and parts of their face.  We spend several hours quickly descending to high camp we arrive 11 hrs from the start of the morning. 

On the top of Vinson

Lesson to grandkids:

At the end of a hard day of work you have to sit back and look at what you have accomplished. Sometimes it may not be much and you may choose to work harder and accomplish more.  Other times you can just be content that that day’s blessings are enough.  It’s ok to be kind to yourself and take the satisfaction you earned. 

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