Vinson Dec 26 Team is on The Ice!

Welcome to Mountain Trip’s December 26th Mount Vinson Team.

Our friend John Cheng from Australia is joining us down in Antarctica.  John climbed Denali with us in 2011, and we appreciate his trust in joining us down at the other hemisphere for the next couple of weeks.

Sebastian Grau Kundhardt, a veteran of many Mountain Trip Denali expeditions, remained in Antarctica to meet John at the bustling Union Glacier camp, after successfully reaching the summit of Vinson less than a week ago.

IL-76 at Union glacier

The Russian IL-76 cargo jet that flew John to the Union Glacier camp

John arrived on the most southerly continent today, and the two will spend the next days making their way up the Branscomb Glacier and up the steep headwall/ridge that leads to the upper mountain and eventually, the summit.  It took about 4 1/2 hours to make the flight from Punta Arenas to the union glacier.  It is a remarkable experience to fly across the remote southern ocean and then over hundreds of miles of icebergs and ice shelf, before glimpsing your first views of countless peaks that have never known the footsteps of man…

Union Glacier Camp

The busy Union Glacier Camp, staging area for many Antarctic adventures

John had a brief layover at Union Glacier, before boarding a flight in a ski-equipped Twin Otter aircraft for the short hop to Vinson Base Camp.  The weather sounds perfect and they had our spacious base camp dome tent to themselves.  Tomorrow, they will begin their trek upwards, and we will continue to post as  they call in reports from their satellite phone.

Twin Otter at VBC

Twin Otters on the Branscomb Glacier, the site of Vinson Base Camp

I’m afraid the vagaries of their satellite connection resulted a John’s voice being a bit garbled when he was articulating his “greatest fear” about this trip, so we’ll all be in suspense until he can fill in the details.

Sebastian is carrying a GPS tracking device called the DeLorme InReach.  It operates on a satellite network that has coverage at the poles, so we can track the team in real time, when the device is on.  Here is the link to follow their progress:

Here are the guys!


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