Monday, January 28, 2013

Union Glacier Camp and Mt Rossman

Cody and I now had several days back at the Union Glacier Camp before the Ilyushin flight arrived to take us back to Punta Arenas. We didn't spend any time in the Union Glacier Camp on the way in, so now we had an opportunity to learn about what goes on at the main ALE operations center in Antarctica. While we were there, the Union Glacier Camp supported three different types of activities. One was the Vinson climb that Cody and I just completed, another was flights to the South Pole, and people skiing different distances to the South Pole.

The logistics of running the camp looked complicated given that the ALE staff had to to feed, house, and transport clients participating in all these activities. This made the Union Glacier Camp seem like a remote location work camp. Everyone was fed in a large heated mess tent.

Mess Tent at Union Glacier Camp ( C. Smith photo)

For accommodations, Cody and I were assigned to a “clamshell” tent

Cody in front of the Clamshell tent with Mt Rossman in the background.

The clamshell tent was comfortable with two beds and a wash basin.

Cody Relaxing in Clamshell tent

Behind the camp was Mt Rossman, a peak with multiple summits lined up along a single ridge. Traversing the mountain along this ridge looked like a great outing. Together with Dave Hamilton (one of the ALE guides I had met years ago in Pakistan) and his client, Cody and I set out.

The approach to our climb started with a ride on a snow cat towards the start of the ridge. It dropped us off when crevasse danger on the glacier became too great for the machine to go any further.

Snow Cat used to clear the ice runway also took us to Mt Rossman

The following pictures describe our traverse of Mt Rossman. Although this was the lowest of the three peaks we climbed, it presented most interesting mountaineering challenges.

Cody and the beginning of our traverse of Mt Rossman

Cody on Ridge.  Union Glacier Camp below in center of picture

At the first summit

Main summit in the background

Pacific Ocean is not far to the west

Summit of Mt Rossman

After completing our climb, we were picked up by the snow cat at the other end of Mt Rossman and brought back to the Union Glacier Camp

Snow Cat pickup

A few days later we were flown back to Punta Arenas.

Back in Punta Arenas


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