Mount Vinson is the highest peak in Antarctica, at 4,892 meters, which also consider in the list of Seven Summit that is 21 km long and 13 km wide and lies within the Sentinel Range of the Elisworth Mountains.
Our day started by cruising through the most scenic channel in Antarctica known as Lemaire Channel. It’s also referred to as “The Kodak Gap” because the many photos that are taken here by many world-renowned photographers are just surreal. The Lemaire is a very narrow Channel and with the excellent navigation skills of the Captain, we were able to enjoy the fabulous views that the narrow Channel has to offer.
It was a lazy start for me that day, as I came back to the ship around 05:00 am after spending most memorable night under Antarctic sky during my camping adventure. I was feeling a bit tired, so I decided to stay on the main deck of the ship to admire the beauty of Lemaire Channel around me. (If you missed, than check my Camping in Antarctica, The White Continent blog).
It was around 09:00 am and after finishing my first delicious meal of the day I supposed to join my team for another adventure of Mountaineering by 09:30 am. It was a hard beginning for me because of my last night camping adventure and my body was demanding for the rest, also I don’t want to exhaust my body for the rest of the voyage. So I decided to withdraw and take a rest.
Mountaineering is teamwork and demands a good fitness level, the more you are fit as a team, the better you are ready to deal with challenging situations. In mountaineering you are roped with another team member and if anyone among the team is not fit, it will affect the whole team.
I don’t want to be an unfit team member so I decided to drop out of the adventure and wanted to give the chance to another fellow traveller to take my place. With this mindset, I went to my guide Mr. Mike and Ms. Tamsin to update them that I won’t be able to join the team for Mountaineering and requested them if possible they can shift me to any other batch in coming days.
While talking to both the guides my fellow traveler Ms. Trish was hearing the whole conversations and with the good intention she jumped in and said- “don’t cancel, you can do it” Trish being such an amazing soul already had Mt. Kilimanjaro Summit, Mt. Everest Base Camp and many more climbing achievements. She pushed me and encouraged me to change my mind and say Yes to Mountaineering.
I will never forget, she said Sagar “don’t miss this chance, trust me you will be fine and we as a team will take care of each other”
Now, that I had made my mind for mountaineering. My next job is to collect the gears from the storeroom and meet my team members at the gangway. Twenty adventurers with two extremely experienced instructor cum guide Mr. Mike & Ms. Tamsin left for the Hovgaard Island, which was our location for the mountaineering.
Around 15 mins of zodiac cruise, we reached our location and started putting on our gears. I must say Trish such a kind-hearted soul, she helps me put on the gears and she made sure that she will lead from the front to guide me. Thanks a lot, Trish I will never forget your support that day.
After gearing up, we have started our ascent. It was a very windy ascent of Hovgaard Island, (377m). On the way up the wind was assisting from behind, while climbing we saw the epic beauty of the Lemaire Channel from both sides of the Island.
As a team, we were progressing well although we took around four small breaks of 3-5 mins each while ascent. Also, our guide gave us enough time to take the photographs of the scenic Hovgaard Island and its surroundings.
Upon reaching the peak, we all were blessed with the stunning panoramic view of the Island. The horizon was so wide and deep that is difficult to differentiate between the sky and the sea. It appears that they are merging at some point.
I said this before and I will repeat this again and again that “The beauty of Antarctica is very hard to describe in words and photographs” it is something beyond feelings and imaginations.
After spending around 15 mins at the peak it was time for the descent, as it was still windy and, on the descent, we had to lean into the wind, which was by that time were blowing at a speed of 30 knots! Both the group comfortably made the decent in less than an hour.
Upon reaching to where we had started everyone congratulating each other for the great experience and after removing all the gears with amazing zodiac drive we all went to our floating house to continue our rest of the voyage.
Special thanks to the most important person Trish for her support and encouragement. To our guide Mr. Mike and Ms. Tamsin and to all the team members for giving me these wonderful memories which I can cherish forever and ever!!!
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Keep Traveling & Keep Exploring!!!