Mount Vinson Massif Expedition — January 1998

Hear the calls from Antarctica
As the Alpine Ascents International team attempts to climb Mount Vinson Massif, guide Wally Berg will use a satellite phone to periodically call The Mountain Zone to let us know how it's going. Watch this page for audio and text updates on the team as they call from the highest mountain in Antarctica to chat about the weather.

Alpine Ascents Climbers Safe and Looking Back on the Adventure
First Ascent of Mount Rob Hall and Checking up on the Super Bowl From High Camp

Tuesday, January 20, 1998 — 8am PST
Wally Berg reported early this morning that the entire Alpine Ascents Antarctica team is safely back in Punta Arenas, Chile and scrambling for international flights to various continents so that they can all go home after a long trip on the icy continent.

"Our Finnish friends... did an ascent of a new peak near Mount Gardner... the cool thing about that is they proposed the mountain be named Mount Rob Hall..."
"We're back in Punta Arenas after a really wonderful trip with what I call the Alpine Ascents International Italian American Vinson Expedition," Berg said via telephone. "After only a short wait at the Patriot Hills base, the Hercules C-130 aircraft landed, and the seven members of the team were flown from the blue ice runway there in a really beautiful crystalline light at 1:30am local time."

"One of the neat things that happened this year was that our Norwegian friends [editor's note: Berg later told Mountain Zone he'd been mistaken and that the climbers were Finnish] Viekka [Gustafsson] and Patrick [Degerman], who found the 30 year old candy bars, did an ascent of a new peak near Mount Gardner. The cool thing about that is they proposed the mountain be named Mount Rob Hall in memory of the New Zealand climber and guide who died on Mount Everest in 1996." [The two climbers also did a first ascent on another peak they propose to call Mount Finland.]

"As I waited at a mid-point camp on Vinson, the Adventure Network Twin Otter pilot Steve King, who had been asked if we knew who was going to the Super Bowl asked us, thinking that since we were Americans we might know. But since we had been gone, we didn't know who won the playoffs on the weekend of January 12. So King contacted the South Pole Base by short-wave radio, where American personnel there knew who had won. So it was interesting to me to listen to all this radio traffic across the vast continent of Antarctica concerning the Denver Broncos and Packers, which of course made little difference to the Brits and Kiwis and Aussies who make up the bulk of the population in this wild place."

"It was a wonderful trip, and we're all safe, and we're all glad to be heading home."