We left once the sun was hitting most of the route up so we could benefit from a warmer hike up. The temperature difference between sun and shade is considerable here and can mean the different between frostbite or not. I was in a rope team with Matt and a fellow Brit named Steve, and we had the excellent Tracy as our guide.
The route to Low Camp was a gradual ascent past two recent ice falls. There had been a good amount of snow this year, meaning it was hard going for those already en route to the Pole, but the benefit is that it decreases the crevasse danger here on Mt Vinson as so many are now covered in thick snow bridges. We had to step over a half dozen or so small crevasses, but who knows how many we crossed unknowingly. You know when you’re on one, the sounds underfoot are different, almost echoing the movements on foot. There were a few hairy moments, but it was a good reminder that Mother Nature rules us all.
Low Camp is truly spectacular with views across to Schnitzen Peak and it’s currently -22°C in the sun. Fed and watered, we’re all now in our tents as we lose the sun behind the mountain in a few hours and the temps will then reach -35°C… very cold! The high winds are still expected tonight so we’ll be up often to check how our tents are doing. On the plus side, filled pee and water containers make for the best hot water bottles in our sleeping bags! Goodnight!
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