American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Antarctica, Mount Vaughan, Climbed at 89 Years, Queen Maud Mountains

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1995

Mount Vaughan, Climbed at 89 Years, Queen Maud Mountains. On December 16, 1994, our summit party including my wife Carolyn Muegge- Vaughan, Gordon Wiltsie, Vernon Tejas and me made the first ascent of Mount Vaughan (3140 meters, 10,302 feet; 85°55'S, 155°50'W). The peak lies between the Amundsen and Scott Glaciers. Our route was up the snow-crusted west-southwest ridge of the mountain on 30° slopes that increased to 40° near the summit. We started the climb from 6800 feet, to which altitude the Twin Otter ski-equipped plane taxied after landing at a lower altitude. The climb took eight days, because I was slow and had a touch of snowblindness and because of weather delays. On the third and fourth days we had horizontal spindrift with winds gusting to 75 miles per hour. I celebrated my 89th birthday by climbing and spending the night on the summit of my namesake mountain. It was named for me in 1931 by Admiral Byrd. We made the climb to commemorate the work and importance of the sled dog in Antarctic exploration and to recognize the work of Admiral Robert E. Byrd and Dr. Laurence M. Gould. It was also in memory of Edward E. Goodale and Freddie Crockett, two of my best friends who drove dogs with me in the Antarctic. We also remember the four dogs, Strieker, Magoo, Pudge and Pandy, who wandered off after the plane crash in November, 1993. (See AAJ, 1994, pages 198-199.) This ended the era of the sled dog in the Antarctic.

Norman D. Vaughan

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