Mountaineering :: Trekking :: Ski touring


This was my fifth season working in Antarctica and my third working as a guide for Adventure Network International (ANI). I arrived in Antarctica on 6th December 2008 and left on 28th January 2009. Apart from two brief transits through the ANI base at Patriot Hills I spent the entire period in the Mt Vinson area of the Ellsworth Mountains.

During my 8 week spell on 'the ice' I worked as a climbing guide on Mt Vinson, as a 'ranger' on Mt Vinson conducting safety patrols, and as manager of the ALE/ANI base camp facility.

This season I made two ascents of Mt Vinson 4892m (my 9th and 10th). Between December 9 and 13, together with fellow ANI guide Scott Woolums, I led a party of 3 climbers (an American, a Canadian and a South African). We reached the summit at 15.00 on Dec 12th. Weather conditions were cold and windy with low cloud, so I have few good pictures from this climb. Between January 7 and 11 I climbed Mt Vinson again, this time with ANI guide Don Carpenter and 3 clients (2 men from the UK and a woman from Norway). We reached the summit at 17.15 on January 10th in perfect weather. The Vinson pictures opposite were taken on this ascent.

ANI guide Rob Jarvis and myself spent several days in Vinson High Camp (3750m) in mid January making preparations for the large group of ANI clients on V5, the last Vinson programme of the season. We took advantage of a 'rest day' to climb Antarctica's 3rd highest peak, Mt Shinn 4660m, on a perfect day. The Mt Shinn  pictures opposite were taken on this ascent. The summit ridge on Mt Shinn is a little more complex than nearby Vinson being composed of several very large cornices. The views are spectacular and I took some good pictures of the eastern aspects of Epperly 4359m, Gardner 4573m and Tyree 4852m, the other high peaks of the Ellsworth Range.

There were also panoramic views of the glaciers that flow down the Eastern side of the Ellsworth Range. It was possible to identify the route of a possible circumnavigation of the Vinson Massif that would make an interesting ski tour. This is a project that I would like to attempt some time in the future.

Report written by David Hamilton 03/02/2009 (in Miami Airport!)

David Hamilton
High Adventure
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