Voyer: Vinson 2001
standing at the Earth's three polesóthe North
Pole, the South Pole and Mount
EverestóBernard Voyer has taken on a new
challenge: A world tour via the highest mountain
on each continent.
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.
morning the weather was still terrible over
Antarctica, but at 3:00 pm we received a call to go to
the airport. The Russian crew wanted the various
climbers and skiers to go, in case we could take off
because the weather reports and the latest satellite
photos showed some possible improvement over
went to the airport. At 4:00 pm, there we were waiting
and we were getting weather reports every 20 minutes,
but nothing was confirmed. The wind was picking up
again and clouds were moving in. We waited until 7:00
pm before the Russian crew decided that we should
return to Punta Arenas and wait.
have now met other climbers who also want to climb Mount
Vinson, but, unlike us, they had planned to leave
for Antarctica at the end of November to make the
climb in the first fifteen days of December; as a
result there are many of us here now-the November
climbers and the December climbers, so to speak. We
get along fairly well and we have had the opportunity
to get to know them, including mountain climbers from
Norway, Austria, and Scotland. There is also a climber
from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Romania and
some climbers from the United States. And if it
carries on like this, I have to say that Santa Claus
will also be coming to join our expedition since time
is marching on and people are starting to talk about
very long delays.
are in fairly good spirits. We are very focused on
climbing this mountain and nothing is going to upset
us, at any rate, not very much at the moment. We are
waiting for good weather. It is indeed an atrocious
spring in Antarctica with dreadful weather up to now,
with the result that there have been no flights to
Antarctica, except this first DC-3 flight, which was
able to land at Patriot Hills.
is waiting-there is nothing else to do. When we leave
for the airport it feels strange because here in Punta
Arenas, it is definitely springtime. The trees are in
bloom and we can see lilacs and tulips, yet we always
leave the hotel dressed for winter in our big down
suits, huge climbing boots, anoraks, our hat and
gloves in our hands, and our rucksacks on our back.
And once on board the Ilyushin, it is not very well
insulated, so it's cold. However, four and a half to
five hours later, when you get out of the plane at
Patriot Hills, you are immediately greeted with very
strong winds and ice, on which you have to erect a
small nylon tent.
are waiting for the flight after the DC-3, which will
take us to the base camp at Mount Vinson; as time
wears on, there seems to be a bigger contrast between
our clothing and our preparations, and the weather
here in Punta Arenas. The children will finish school
in a few days for their summer vacation, when people
start eating ice cream in the street. Life goes on
here in Punta Arenas.
web site for more up to date dispatches in French.
more on Bernard on EverestNews.com including his
interview after Everest see