Mount Vinson – Antarctica 2009

Punta Arenas, Southern Chile and the point of departure for flights to Antarctica

Mount Vinson (4892m, S 78° W 85°), Ellsworth Mountains 2008/09

An anticipated White Christmas on ice turned into a sunny bbq in Southern Patagonia as strong Katabatic winds in the Antarctic delayed our inbound flight for 11 days.

No problem for those with the time and patience to enjoy the fascinating geography of the Southern Chilean port town, Punta Arenas. Situated on the Magellan straits, which separates the South American mainland from Tierra del Fuego, Punta once enjoyed the wild west notoriety of a town with more brothels per head of population than anywhere else in the world!

Since the opening of the Panama canal in 1914 things have calmed down a bit and now Punta is a pleasant town with a whole host of decent bars, restaurants, museums, a cinema with English language films and even a decent new climbing wall.

Whilst our Christmas was sunny and pleasant, new year, spent at High Camp on Mount Vinson (3770m), would be distinctly chillier.

I was in the good company of Japanese client, Yasuyuki Okobu, the first ever deaf climber to attempt Mount Vinson and fellow Guides from U.S. based guiding company, Adventure Network International.

Not only was it a pleasure and privilege to be back guiding in this wild and pristine environment it was also a new and fascinating experience to be climbing with a deaf partner.