December 21

The team is patiently waiting at Vinson Base Camp – the weather has not been cooperating and so far they have been unable to get a Twin Otter in to fly them out. I remain in Patriot Hills. The Iluyshyn is being held until our team is back from Vinson – but it seems unlikely that will happen today. Spirits remain good. Will keep you updated.

This is the steep headwall that rises up about 3,000 ft above Camp 2 and provides the passage to high camp. The base of the headwall is about 10,200 feet (3,100m). You can see small black dots on the right side of photo – this is a group of climbers making their way up.

The view from halfway up the headwall

20 Replies to “December 21”

  1. Best wishes to all


    I’m glad to hear you are at Patriot and feeling better. Are you having any continuing medical issues? I hope the rest of your group returns soon and you all can make it home for the holidays. I was able to make it from high camp to Phoenix in 47 hours so anything is possible.

    Your hearts opponent.

  2. RE:The view from halfway up the headwall

    I think I can see my house from here! I know for sure I could see it from a little further up.

  3. Awesome vistas

    Dear Dr Ross, Thank you for sending these images which have given us an even better understanding of the grueling conditions you faced daily and the scope of this harsh environment that challenged you and your team. It is incredible to see the height of this headwall,then factor in the distances that were so far from camp to camp,the high altitudes and the COLD. Thinking of you and the team and we hope that you are reunited soon. Wishing you all a safe journey home soon. Meery Christmas and a Healty & Happy New Year to the Team. Bill & Betty Allison

  4. How are you?

    H , how are you feeling? Have any of the crackling noises sibsided? Do you still need to see a doc?
    I hope your team joins you soon, so you can get your butt home.
    I think you will need a week at the spa upon your arrival. Hope you’re sleeping well .
    The photos are mesmorizing… Hopefully you will sell me one…
    Ciao .

  5. The Headwall

    Hey Heather: Hope you are feeling better and better each day. Stunning pictures of the headwall! The little black dots (aka climbers) sure puts things into perspective…am curious to know just how one is “short-roped down the headwall”..goodness..Hope the weather clears and the rest of the team can get back to PH and you all can get home pronto. C U soon LizP

  6. Glad to hear you are feeling better. Hope the rest of your team meets up with soon so that if you don’t make home for XMas at least you will all be together. There was a wonderful story in the Toronto Star about your great adventure.

    Take care of yourself we all need you.

    Merry XMAS and a happy and healty New Year

    Glenn & Val Thomson

  7. From Dave’s sister

    Dear Heather,
    What a terrifying experience you went through—I’m a nurse so I know how low sats of 40% are! I do hope you are feeling much better and will have no ill effects. Thanks so much for keeping us all posted. I hope the rest of the team will soon join you and you will all be safely home asap. You are a brave and inpirational group! It is an amazing thing you’ve done. Please give Dave a big hug from me when you see him. Safe journey!
    Regards, Lyn

  8. not a polar joke-still working on that

    Give me time. I may have something for an Xmas present. stay strong. Nikki

    25. Your house plants are alive, and you can’t smoke any of them.
    24. Having sex in a twin bed is out of the question.
    23. You keep more food than beer in the fridge.
    22. 6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to bed.
    21. You hear your favorite song in an elevator.
    20. You watch the Weather Channel.
    19. Your friends marry and divorce instead of “hook up” and “break up.”
    18. You go from 130 days of vacation time to 14.
    17. Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as “dressed up.”
    16. You’re the one calling the police because those %&@# kids next
    door won’t turn down the stereo.
    15. Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you.
    14. You don’t know what time Taco Bell closes anymore.
    13. Your car insurance goes down and your car payments go up.
    12. You feed your dog Science Diet instead of McDonald’s leftovers.
    11. Sleeping on the couch makes your back hurt.
    10. You take naps.
    9. Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning of it.
    8. Eating a basket of chicken wings at 3 AM would severely upset,rather
    than settle, your stomach.
    7. You go to the drug store for ibuprofen and antacid, not condoms and
    pregnancy tests.
    6. A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer “pretty good shit.”
    5. You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time.
    4. “I just can’t drink the way I used to” replaces “I’m never going to
    drink that much again.”
    3. 90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work.
    2. When you find out your friend is pregnant you congratulate them
    instead of asking “What the hell happened?”>>
    And the number one sign you are getting old is:
    **1. You read this entire list looking desperately for one sign that doesn’t apply to you and can’t find one to save your sorry old ass. Then you forward it to a bunch of old friends ’cause you know they’ll enjoy it.

  9. Too bad you are at the South pole and not the North Pole.

    Dear Heather,
    I hope that the team gets re-united soon. I am sure that you are worried about them and they are worried about you. My prayers are with you all. The photos are stunning and scary at the same time. I check-in every day to see if I can catch another blog. Thank god you are still writing in it. You have too many people addicted to this… wanting and needing more information about you and the team. It’s getting close to Christmas and I am wrapping presents and baking cookies for Santa. Les, Nicole and I, wish you and the team a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  10. Whatever will we do when we don’t have this blog to go might have a new profession Heather. If not as an author then definitely as a photographer
    We are all hoping that you will be re-united for Christmas
    Hugs to Dale when he gets there

  11. hi there

    Hey Heather, just a quick note to let you know I am thinking of you. Glad to know you are on your way back. Cute story: My Mother pointed out the Star article to a few in the office, and one of the ladies asked: How did your daughter meet such a fascinating person? Who does she know??? So there you go. On top of everything else, you are also a great writer. Your journals are so vivid. I noticed a number of people saying that they felt like they were along for the ride – and it’s true. You really did make us feel like we were with you.
    Again, looking forward to seeing you back. In the meantime, God’s speed. Sandra

  12. Fingers and toes are still crossed……..

    …..hoping that the rest of the team gets down to PH soon. Still holding out hope that you will all be reunited with your families and friends for the holidays. Glad that you have had some time to recuperate in PH before embarking on another long journey. Hang in there! Stay safe. P.S. The pictures continue to blow us away…. they are stunning. And by the way…. if there is any left over viagra, bring it home (there seems to be an increased interest in it since you have posted that blog!). edl

  13. Congratulations!

    Dear Heather and team,
    I am so in awe of your remarkable accomplishments. I have been following your web journal and it’s wonderful to read about you reaching the summit (or close enough) after so many gruelling days. Congratulations to everyone and have a safe trip home.
    Lauren Bialystok

  14. Merry Christmas!!!


    Congratulations again for the achievement. I hope you are feeling well from the HAPE.
    The pictures are amazing!! Unbelievable…
    I would like to know that we are here, praying for you and the team everyday, wishing for a safe return.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for you and the team! đŸ™‚


  15. heather

    Hi Been thinking alot about you and how you are feeling and how’s the breathing. Hope that you are completely recovered and able to enjoy all the excitement when you get back home. It must be weird to be separated from the group you were literally tied to. The sun is starting it’s journey back north and hopefully you’ll be coming along with it. You are giving the press a chance to sharpen their pencils and change batteries before you arrive. Really hope you are feeling better and that your o2 sats are back where they belong. Thanks again for all the great postings they were appreciated by people all over the world, especially Nigeria and Germany. Take care

  16. Congratulations

    Hey Heather,

    Congrats on your remarkable achievement and glad you have recovered from your HAPE. It just goes to show you that the lungs are the most important organ!

    Have a great journey back – there will be 3 new heart-lung recipients for you to see when you get home (really!)

    Lianne Singer and the lung transplant team

  17. Anxiously waiting to hear that you are all safely on your way home!

    To Dale, Heather and team: Thank you for continuing to post – we are all walking around with our copies of the front page Toronto Star – you are the talk of the town and your achievements are inspiring many people. Hope you are all back home very soon. Stay cool and keep warm. John, AndrĂ© and Anne.

  18. Dr. Heather Ross

    So glad to hear you are feeling better. We have been keeping up with the blog each and every day. Thank you for your perserverence. As we said before you are a remarkable person. Hope the team gets back to PH soon and you get home quickly. Take care and give Dale a big HUG along with yourself. We know everyone is awaiting to hear you are on a flight home. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you.
    Donna and Bob May

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