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Antarctica, Ellsworth Mountains, Vinson Massif, West Face Ice Stream, Repeat Ascent

Vinson Massif, West Face Ice Stream, repeat ascent. As reported above, on December 23 Luis Fraga, Miguel Angel Vidal, and I made a rare ascent of the 2,000-meter high West Face of Vinson (4,897m). We repeated the line first climbed in 1999 by Conrad Anker. Starting out at around 4:30 a.m., we unroped above the rimaye and progressed about 60 meters apart, worried by wind slab in the middle section of the route. The first 800 meters were straightforward 45-50° but then it got steeper and the last 200 meters were on 55-60° hard bare ice. Fraga arrived at the top first, taking around eight-and-a-half hours, while I brought up the rear in 10 hours. The following day all three of us reached the summit and on Xmas Day descended the original 1991 Rudi Lang route on the far left side of the Central Ice Stream. The 2003 climb was my second ascent of the face. My first, and the most southerly of the five existing routes, followed an easier line up the right side of the South Ice Stream (though not to the summit), and was completed around the 18th January 1995 with the late Manolo Alvarez.

Ramon Portilla, Spain