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Antarctica, Ellsworth Mountains – Sentinel Range, Vinson Massif, Summary

Vinson Massif, summary. The 2008-09 season was the busiest ever on Vinson (4,892m), with a total of 190 summits. The weather until mid-December was generally very good, but deteriorated thereafter, causing flight delays. However, flexible schedules enabled enough time for most to climb the mountain. Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE) continued their proactive management of the mountain, installing several rescue caches high and enforcing strict procedures for human waste. There are now emergency caches at Low Camp, High Camp, and in a location high up in the cwm, beneath the northern side of the summit pyramid. The steep snow slope of the Branscomb shoulder, between Low and High camps, was fixed once again and used by all teams. The Australian commercial operator Duncan Chessell led a guided expedition to the eastern side of the range. The team flew in to the lower reaches of the Dater Glacier and quickly made first ascents of two small peaks near their base camp. They then pulled sleds farther up the Dater and established another camp. From there they climbed a new route to Goodge Col and proceeded from there to the summit of Vinson via the normal route.

Damien Gildea, Australia