Mt. Vinson – Day 6
We woke up once again to a cold, cloudy sky and packed up our gear and broke down our tents. We grabbed some breakfast then started the move up the fixed lines once more to High Camp. To be honest, this day was very similar to our cache day two days prior, except it was colder. It was also more crowded, as several other expeditions were also headed up the fixed lines (though they were going to make a cache and not to move up).
After four hours of climbing, we made it back up to High Camp. High Camp is perched on a cliff overlooking Low Camp, and unlike our first time here, it was impossible to see Low Camp from the edge. A thick blanket of clouds lay below us and it almost looked like it would soften your landing if you were to jump off.
We set up our tents near an existing ice wall. The expedition that had constructed this wall had been real experts. In addition to the wall, they carved an arched gateway and decorative snow sculptures. It was an amazing feat, but clearly a result of a couple weather days at High Camp….definitely a situation we were hoping to avoid up here. At this altitude and in these conditions, all we had to look forward to at High Camp was the summit. It’s even colder than at Low Camp, you’re eating freeze-dried food, and you’re not sleeping very well. All in all, it’s not the most pleasant of experiences, and certainly not one you would want to intentionally prolong.
After hearing a good weather report on the radio – -30˚ to -40˚ temps and 10-15mph of wind – we prepared ourselves (our gear and our minds) for a summit bid the next day.
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