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Vinson wrap-up: 16-year old girl climbing Vinson

Posted: Jan 04, 2011 10:54 pm EST

(By Correne Coetzer) A 16-year old Romanian girl, Crina Popescu, has set herself the goal to become the youngest woman to climb the Seven Summits and Volcanic Seven Summits. Currently she is on Vinson and in April she will attempt Everest (the last of her Seven Summits).

The weather on Vinson was good lately and several teams plan to go for a High Camp or summit push.

International Mountain Guides

Greg Vernovage and team of 6 climbers, with IMG Senior Guide, Aaron Mainer and under the leadership of IMG Senior Guide and 3 times Seven Summiteer, Mike Hamill are on Vinson. The team left Punta Arena for Union Glacier on the Ilyushin 76 on December 29. Phil Ershler reported that they were out of the hotel at 5.30 am and it took the bus about 3 hours to pick everyone up, get to the airport, go through security and settle in on the IL76.

Right on schedule, they started carrying to Vinson low camp on January 1 in perfect weather and conditions.

Yesterday the team has carried to High Camp, about 12,500 ft. Today was scheduled to be a rest day at Low Camp, a bit under 10,000 ft. The weather forecast remains good and the team remains strong, reported the home team.

7 Summits Club

Alexander Abramov, Dmitry Kolotiy and Andrey Podolyan summited Vinson on December 27 in perfect and warm weather. I never have seen such weather on Vinson, said Abramov. They celebrated with vodka at BC where they left their equipment for the next group.

The next group are, group members: Zygmunt Wladyslaw Berdychowski, Roman Ludwik Dzida, Daniel Mizera, Malgorzata Bozena Pierz-Pekala (all Poland), Crina Popescu (Romania), Mario Trimer (Italy). Guides: Alex Abramov and Maxim Bogatyrev.

16-year old Crina Imola (Coco) Popescu has already conquered five peaks of the Seven Summits and six peaks of the Volcanic Seven Summits. She has climbed in the Alps, Himalayas and Iran among other mountains.

Crina says she didnt have only successful attempts. The failures convinced me that, without passion and efforts, you cant reach for the highest high, both in life and on mountains. An important lesson that Ive learned was when I first attempt to climb on Aconcagua and a cold hold me back. From that moment on, I learned that precaution must represent an objective for me in order to continue my dream. On Cho Oyo she learned to put safety before everything.

Crina will be climbing Mount Vinson (January1-10, 2011), then shell take the Romanian flag on Sidleys peak, the highest volcano on Antarctica (January 14-23, 2011).

Latest report from the team is that all the teams at Vinson Base Camp were treated by the ALE staff on a meal outside on the snow. On January 2 they planned to move to High Camp. [Michael Forsyth, below, reported that well-known ANI/ALE staff member, Fran Orio, cooks at VBC.]

Adventure Consultants

On December 31 the second AC team arrived at VBC after a delay of two days at Union Glacier. On January 3 the home team reported the climbers were at Low Camp. It will have taken the team approximately 7 hours to reach Low Camp from Base Camp, with an ascent of 700m. Roughly one third of their equipment will have been carried in their rucksacks, the rest towed behind in small sleds. They acclimatized at 2800m.

Yesterday the team carried a load of gear to High Camp and stayed there. Their summit attempt is scheduled for January 5.

Alpine Ascents

The third Alpine Ascents team with guide Michael Horst summited with all climbers on December 28. The next Alpine Ascents Mt. Vinson expedition, with guides Vern Tejas and Garrett Madison, reported on January 3 that they have casted their gear at High Camp and descended down to Low Camp. The plan is to head back up again today.

Michael Forsyth and ANI guide David Hamilton

Yesterday Michael Forsyth reported over Contact 5 about their climb to High Camp, Today is the day I have worried about for weeks. It involves just over 3,000 ft of exposed climbing to the High Camp, from which our summit bid will be made.

My pack is very heavy and I leave camp wondering if I can manage the six hours of climbing while carrying it as we ascend to 12,400 ft. There is about 3,600 ft of fixed rope covering the hardest section so if I do slip I will not end up at the bottom of the mountain.

As it turns out, it is not too bad - and David very kindly offers to carry my blogging equipment and sat phone. Michael said the ascent is arduous, however, he is glad he spend a lot of time in the gym the past few months. He added, The technique is to build a rhythm... moving one crampon at a time and coordinating deep breaths.

They descended to Low Camp and planned to climb up again today, weather depending and depending how fit he feels, said Michael.

First Ascent

Ed Viesturs, plus three guides and four clients are also heading for Antarctica. Viesturs says in a YouTube video that it will be his first time on Antarctica.

Mallory Expedition

Canadian Dan Mallory, his daughter, Laura, and son, Adam summited Vinson on December 27. Dan reported on their blog, Our summit day could have not been better. No wind and clear sky and although the temperature was minus 25 C, the sun made it feel much warmer. They left High Camp in the morning and ten and a half hours later, at 2.20 pm., reached the summit.

Getting there was not easy. Heading up to High Camp the first time they encountered very high winds on the way, blizzard conditions, and spent two nights up there with the winds blowing at 40-60 km per hour, they reported. It was -14°C inside the tent in the morning. We got a radio report that conditions were going to get worse and that the wind was going to double and we made the tough decision about going back down to Low Camp where there was less wind which we did.

We spent three days at Low Camp and got continuous reports of the very high winds at High Camp so we did make the right decision. The tent that we had left at High Camp and that we had used was covered in snow and was demolished.

The wind came down to Low Camp and ranged from 60-70 km/h, gusting 80 km/h. Tents were secured with snow blocks and walls. ALE forecasted good weather and the team took the opportunity to summit.

In May 2008, Dan, Laura, Adam and their other brother Alan successfully summit Mt. Everest.

Richard Parks 737 Challenge

Richard has completed his Last Degree (110km) ski to the South Pole. His latest report on January 2 says he is back at Union Glacier and sorting his gear for Mount Vinson, with the planned departure for VBC, January 4.

Gateway port Cape Town, South Africa:
To ALCI/TAC base camp Novolazarevskaya / Novo
(70° 4637S, 011° 4926E).
Gateway port Punta Arenas, Chile, South America:
To ALE/ANI base camp, Union Glacier
(79° 45'S, 083° 14'W).
Gateway port Punta Christchurch, New Zealand:
To US base McMurdo
(77°50'39"S, 166°40'22"E)


Mount Vinson

Team Latitude Tommy, Marit and Trond with guide Christian Eide
International Mountain Guides (IMG) with guides Phil Ershler, Greg Vernovage and Mike Hamill
Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE/ANI)
7 Summits Club with Alexander Abramov
Crina (Coco) Popescu with Alexander Abramov
Adventure Consultants led by Mark Sedon from New Zealand (Dec 1 17) and Victor Saunders from the UK (Dec 27 Jan 11)
Alan Arnette
Alpine Ascents
Michael Forsyth blog
Berg Adventures International
Mallory Expedition
First Ascent Guides: Ed Viesturs, Peter Whittaker, Seth Waterfall, Caroline George, Jack Norton, cinematographer Kent Harvey and 4 clients
Richard Parks 737 Challenge

Other links:

CONTACT 5 expedition technology

Polar rules of Adventure
What is solo?
Hercules Inlet start point

Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE/ANI)
The Antarctic Company (TAC/ALCI)

#Polar #Mountaineering

16-year old Crina Imola (Coco) Popescu from Romania in Punta Arenas before she left for Antarctica.
courtesy 7Summits Club, SOURCE
Inside the Ilyushin-76 from Punta Arenas (Chile) to Union Glacier (Antarctica)
Image by Pat McCrann courtesy International Mountain Guides (IMG), SOURCE
The Ilyushin on the blue ice runway at Union Glacier.
Image by Michael Forsyth (over Contact 5), SOURCE
ALEs camp at Union Glacier.
Image by Michael Forsyth (over Contact 5) courtesy Michael Forsyth (over Contact 5), SOURCE
Michael Forsyth on his way to Vinson High Camp.
Image by David Hamilton courtesy Michael Forsyth (over Contact 5), SOURCE
Looking down to Low Camp from High Camp
Image by Pat McCrann courtesy International Mountain Guides (IMG), SOURCE