Their journey began in early December when the team of 4 climbers and lead guide Adrian Ballinger set out from the United States, traveling to Antarctica. The first objective was the highest point on the continent – 16,077’ Mt. Vinson.
The team landed on Union Glacier to less than ideal conditions. With strong storms upon them, their ability to fly from the glacier to base camp was hindered. The team made the most of their time by climbing 4,757’ Mt Rossman in full conditions. A 7 hour round trip complete with glacier travel, loads of crevasses and zero visibility proved to be a good ‘ole Antarctic hammering but also a great warm up for the team. All things considered, they were still able to tag the summit and all members performed wonderfully.
The following day was spent in camp. They rested up, took showers, ate delicious meals and honed their skills on camp craft. Battening down the hatches in anticipation of more wind, running white gas stoves – all essential measures to stay warm in -40 degree temperatures.
It wasn’t long before the weather subsided and the team hopped on a flight to Vinson base camp. Once there, they quickly assembled their gear and went straight to low camp. It was a long day indeed but the weather forecast was quickly improving. The team awoke to near perfect conditions after getting some much needed rest in low camp and made a single, long push to high camp.
High camp provided a few hours of rest along with a ton of shared stoke. With no one on the mountain other than our team, it felt like they had the whole place to themselves. A true rarity, especially given the incredible conditions of sun and low winds.
The next day the team got an early start and was greeted by pristine mountain conditions. Their fast and efficient climbing was paid off by summiting with gorgeous views of the surrounding peaks. High fives were shared and cameras clicked to preserve the moment. Shortly after the summit celebration they descended all the way to base camp, cleaning up the site at high camp along the way and made it down in a flash.
As quickly as they arrived, our team was off the mountain. This entire Antarctic expedition took just over 48 hours once they departed from Union Glacier, summited and descended back. This incredible speed was a direct result of our Alpenglow Rapid Ascent system and the team’s hard work and training before they left for this unique expedition.
After leaving Antarctica the team was on their way to Argentina where their next objective awaits – 22,841’ Aconcagua. The team is now in base camp getting ready for their next ascent. Currently winds are strong causing most teams to turn back at camp 3. Our team is waiting patiently for the forecast to improve after which they will make a strong effort to climb Aconcagua in the swift and good style that is Alpenglow Expeditions.
Stay tuned for the next dispatch as we follow our team up the mountain, and to them we say good luck and safe climbing!