Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mt Shinn


 After Cody and I reached the top of Vinson four days after leaving Punta Arenas, we still had ten more days before our scheduled flight on the Ilyushin 76 back to Chile.  We were interested in climbing some other peaks in the area with the time we had.  But most of the other climbers were on a quest to climb each of the highest mountains on the seven continents. So after climbing Vinson (the highest in Antarctica), they were not interested in making other ascents. But a small group of us wanted to use our time to climb some other peaks in the area. Mt Shinn, the third highest mountain in Antarctica, was easily accessed from High Camp so we made that our next objective..

Mt Shinn from High Camp

To access Mt Shinn from High Camp, we needed to drop down to the col (pass) between Mts Shinn and Vinson. Less than a decade ago, the normal route on Vinson climbed up to this same col. But ice falling from  seracs onto the slopes below made for hazardous travel. So the route was moved to the slope that led to the ridge just below the new High Camp.

Crossing the Col towards Mt Shinn

It was windier and therefore colder on Mt Shinn when compared to our summit day on Mt Vinson. My camera was completely frozen, but Cody's worked on the summit.

Cody and me on the summit of Mt Shinn (C. Smith photo)

On the descent, clouds moved up from below and engulfed us in a fog. We couldn't see where we were going and had to use GPS coordinates to find our way back to High Camp.

Given all the potential weather delays, we now needed to get back to Vinson Base to make sure that we had enough time to be flown back to Union Glacier.  It took one day to make this descent from High Camp to Vinson Base.  From there the Twin Otter flew us back to Union Glacier.

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