Madness Team Summits Vinson!
Images from a past expedition. MM collection.
We just got an exciting phone call from Willie Benegas, the Mountain Madness guide on Vinson-Massif. At noon Pacific Standard Time on January 18, 2010, all four members of the all-star team reached the summit of Vinson!
The original weather forecast was very good, but Willie reported that when the team reached the summit ridge this morning they were hit with strong wind and very cold temperatures, making the last hour of the summit push bitterly cold. But the team pushed through, and all arrived at the summit happy, if a bit cold.
The group includes Shawn Dawson, who is climbing the seven summits to benefit a nonprofit organization; Suzanne Al Houby, the first Arab Palestinian woman to summit Vinson; Michael Rodriguez, who has now summitted six of the seven summits; and Johnny Collinson, who is now the youngest person to climb the seven summits (including the Carstenz Pyramid).
Suzanne reports that her face was freezing on the summit ridge, but that it was worth every second. She asked us to pass a message along to her family and friends: “Thank you for believing in me. I love you all!”
Johnny skied from the summit down to high camp, where the group is now tired but happy. They’ll spend the rest of the evening recovering from the summit push and preparing for tomorrow’s move down the mountain to base camp. Tomorrow, Johnny’s planning to ski down to Camp 1, where the entire group will rope up to descend back to base camp safely.
Congratulations to all!