Well the big wind event came and went but did not have the immediate impact that we had hoped. Today, search Tuesday December 7, is somewhat clear but the winds are still blowing on Vinson’s summit plus at High Camp.
We can hear the low roar of the winds ripping through the high ridges. Some reports have it at 50 mph. A large lenticular cloud spans the ridge we can see from low camp. But,the weather forecast, which has been very accurate thus far, calls for low winds the next three days -enough for us to make a summit run. We are spending our time in a Groundhog Day movie set. We wait until noon to leave the tents since the sun (what there is of it) comes out from behind the nearby ridge.
Next is ‘breakfast’, usually oatmeal, bacon and bagel sandwiches. By then it is between 2 and 3. The afternoons go by quickly. One day we built snow walls, another we took a short walk for exercise, today we did some review of crevasse rescue techniques. I write a dispatch on occasion using a foldable keyboard and PDA (think a 1995 pocket computer) and upload to the website via my sat phone at 1995 dialup speeds – no,slower!
Back to the tents for a short nap or read before reconvening in the pyramid shaped cook/dining tent – complete with snow benches – to hear the 9:30 PM weather report. This comes from Vinson Base Camp which is relayed from Union Glacier. All the teams listen in and contribute their own observations and plans. A dinner of pasta or a burrito wraps up the day. Some more small talk, reading or cards takes us towards midnight.
It is still light outside when we crawl into our -20F sleeping bags neatly lied out on thin mats inside our 2 or 3 person tents. Hard to believe we are sitting on top of several thousand feet of Antarctic ice. We are on day 6 of the waiting game and hopeful that day 7 will take us to High Camp and then the top of Antarctica!
Memories are Everything