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 Bernard Voyer: Vinson 2001


After standing at the Earth's three poles—the North Pole, the South Pole and Mount  Everest—Bernard Voyer has taken on a new challenge: A world tour via the highest mountain on each continent.

Starting November 8, 2001, Bernard Voyer will complete the last stop on his World Tour of the highest mountains, by climbing Mount Vinson (4897 meters), the highest peak in the Antarctic, with climbing partner Nathalie Tremblay.

Update 11/16/2001: We have returned to Punta Arenas after training in Torres del Paine National Park. We learned yesterday that we will not be able to fly in before November 21, because there must be several days of very good weather, and a firmly established high pressure area, before approving a flight between South America and Antarctica. So if the weather turns nice, even very nice, today the 16th, the flight could not leave before 21 November.

So that gives us more time here for better preparation of our equipment, all the logistics as well as a few visits to Punta Arenas.

That's all for Friday 16 November. Talk to you again soon. Bernard

Hello, We are still in Punta Arenas, but expect to leave on the 21st or 22nd. The latest weather satellite photos are still showing very high turbulence and very bad weather over Antarctica. Very strong low pressure systems will continue to prevent us from leaving for Antarctica before November 21.

I will take this opportunity to tell you a little about Punta Arenas. The name means sandy point. This is a city of 125,000 people, founded in 1848. The site was discovered by the Portuguese explorer Magellan in 1520. He was seeking a much calmer inside passage to bypass the wild storms that lashed Cape Horn (which is famous for the most violent ocean storms on the planet). So the Strait of Magellan was discovered in 1520. There is actually a park in the middle of the city with a statue honoring Magellan's achievement. It portrays the explorer with two Indians sitting by his feet. Legend holds that if you kiss the foot of one of the Indians in this statue, it will give you good luck and ensure that you return alive if you are venturing further south. We took heed, since Antarctica is a long way to the south of here. So we kissed the Indian's foot, because the legend says we'll come back alive. I also did this in 1995, before leaving for Antarctica.

The economy in Punta Arenas is based primarily on sheep ranching. There are a lot of sheep here - they are a major export, along with fish, giant crabs and a variety of seafood. Punta Arenas is a fairly large port. Its location on the Strait of Magellan affords fairly good protection from the wind, although it is always very windy here in Punta Arenas.

Bernard Voyer

<<<< Dispatches >>>>

Check his web site for more up to date dispatches in French.

For more on Bernard on EverestNews.com including his interview after Everest see here.

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