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  ANDALUCIA-ANTARCTICA 2004 EXPEDITION SCHEDULE 


Juan Antonio Huisa and Pedro López will climb Villarrica Volcano (2,47 meters) in Chile, at the beginning of December, as preparation before flying to Antarctica.   

The Andalucia Antarctica Expedition, sponsored by Consejería de Turismo, Comercio y Deporte through Deporte Andaluz, has finished the definitive schedule for the adventure of the two members of CD Siete Cumbres, Juan Antonio Huisa and Pedro López, which will take place beginning December 3.

During 2004 both climbers have done diverse preparatory expeditions (High Atlas in Morocco, Cordillera Blanca in Peru, Dolomites in Italy and Mont Blanc in France), which have preceded the Antarctic adventure.

The Andalucian climbers wanted to take a gigantic leap on their Seven Summits Project and that is why they have decided to attempt to climb the highest summit in Antarctica, Mount Vinson, 4,897 meters, which implies a lot of effort and total dedication to try to crown one of the most difficult peaks in the world, because of its logistic complexity and because temperature there reaches 50º below zero.

To the west of the frozen continent, there are several mountain chains, like Centinel Mountains of Ellsworth Mountains.  Mount Vinson with its 4,897 m. is the highest peak in this chain and in the entire Antarctica.  The expedition will take place during the month of December, during the austral summer, with 24 hours of daylight.

A major inconvenience will be that they will have to carry their loads themselves.  Antarctica has conditions unlike any other mountain in the world, there is no infrastructure, no guides, no porters, and they could not be restocked while they are there.

Because of all these, they will have to be auto sufficient and carry a load of some 50 kg, using sleds to transport food for many days, gas, telecommunication materials (GPS, satellite phone, portable computer, video and still cameras) and heavy and diverse climbing materials to bear with the most extreme conditions on the planet.

SCHEDULE

December 3-5

Sevilla - Madrid - Santiago de Chile, the capital of Chile.  Last paperwork and trip by train Santiago - Puerto Montt to reach the town of Temuco, 675 km south of Santiago.

December 5-8

The first destination will be Pucón, a little village on the shore of black sanded Lake Villarrica, with the symmetrical cone of the wet volcano of the same name raising in the background.  Villarrica Volcano, perfect and sharp like a snowy peak, is today an active volcano from which sulfuric fumes constantly raise and lava is clearly visible.  With its 2,847 m., this volcano will be the first contact with the mountain, which will be useful to prepare for Mount Vinson.

December 8-10

From Pucón back to Puerto Montt to sail to Punta Arenas (the last stop in Tierra del Fuego).  Last preparations, stocking, flight check to Antarctica, permits, authorizations and paperwork.

December 10

As soon as the weather permits, they will take a Hercules plane towards Antarctica.  The flight time from Punta Arenas to the Canadian base of Patriot Hills is around 6 h., depending on the wind.  From the plane, if the weather is good, you can see Charcot and Alexander islands at 71º latitude.  Alexander is a large island in the Bellingshausen Sea separated from land by the strait of George IV.

The trip continues until you can see in the distance the spectacular Ellsorth Mountains, the highest mountains in Antarctica.  Flying above Ellsworth a landing strip can be seen, a frozen area located at 1,000 m. above sea level.  Just after getting to Patriot Hills, they have to take a Twin Otter plane to fly to base camp of Vinson; this trip can take one hour and fifteen minutes.  After a landing on the skis of the light plane that can keep going between ten to fifteen kilometers because of inertia, they will have to install in base camp.

December 11-20

During the next twelve days they will try to make it to the summit, leaving some slack days in case the weather gets bad.  Base camp is located at 2,300 m. on the west ridge of Ellsworth.  Once everything is organized and settled they will begin to carry materials to install camp I, located at 2,600 m.  From base camp they have to climb by the narrow valley of Branscom Glacier and the route climbs with big cracks, during two miles (3 km) up to camp I.

If everything goes fine they will install camp I in two trips; and from there they will begin their way to camp II.  After an almost flat trip of three hours to the northeast the slope begins.  Always to the northeast, and after three hours, a ridge that blocks Vinson can be passed, climbing it via a canal (40º) facing South, which can be seen in the front. 

There is a balcony at 3,200 m., and then a slope leading down to a glacial valley at the bottom of the southwest vertices of Vinson, a protected point at 3,100 m. of altitude.  After a 2 Km climb we arrive to camp II at 3,300 m.

Camp III, the last camp, is located at 3,750 m.  The route continues to the northeast, now through an ice cascade with hidden crevasses covered by spurious layers of fragile snow, that make the march difficult.  Then we arrive to a wide and exposed port between Mount Shinn and Mount Vinson, where camp III will be located.  In this windy place, it will be necessary to shelter the tents with walls of ice.

From the Col, to the south east, a glacial valley of a soft slope leads to the summit zone of the mountain in some 6 or 7 hours.  The main summit raises in the background to the right.  With luck and effort we will have crowned the summit of Mount Vinson, the roof of Antarctica.  From here, we will begin the return to the lower camps until we get to base camp.

December 20-21

The light plane will take the members of the expedition back to Patriot Hills, where they will take the Hercules plane towards Punta Arenas for a delightful and calm flight while seeing the beautiful images that the mysterious and unknown continent has to offer.

December 22-24

Return to Spain

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