Casper mountaineer and sports medicine specialist Dr. Joe McGinley and his “Crazy Horse” climbing team are closing in on the Antarctic peak that will give him six of the seven tallest peaks on seven continents that represent the holy grail of the mountain climbing world.
The group organizer for the climb, Alpine Ascents, posted a message that the team was planning its ascent of the 16,050-foot mountain Monday from 12,400 feet. An online map tracking the team showed the climbers at 15,737 feet as of noon.
“We have been eating and drinking and resting,” a man identified as Gene reported Sunday via satellite phone and posted to the Alpine Ascents website. “Tomorrow, we are going to try and climb to the highest place in all of Antarctica.”
A Facebook post at the McGinley Clinic’s Facebook page also reports that the team will try and summit the 16,050-foot Mount Vinson on Monday. An attempt to contact McGinley’s wife was not successful.
Delay To Base Camp
Older website updates from Alpine Ascents report the team was initially delayed flying from Union Glacier in Antarctica to the base camp on the mountain. They arrived at base camp Jan. 4.
“Everybody is excited and looking forward to climbing up the mountain,” an organizer reported in a voice message posted Jan.4. “Everybody was working hard, working as a team to organize the food and fuel to go up the mountain. … Tomorrow we are going up to low camp at 9,000 feet.”
During their delay Jan. 3 in getting to the base camp, the team spent time working on laying out rope for its glacier travel up the side of the mountain to enhance safety on the slope.
Prior to leaving Casper on Dec. 26, McGinley, 49, shared that he tried to “overtrain” for the mountain so he could better enjoy the challenge. Part of the overtraining meant sleeping in a hypoxic tent that simulated being at 17,000 feet.
24 Hours Of Daylight
Antarctica this time of year features 24 hours of daylight and warms to what is for that continent a balmy minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Hiking can be warm and only require one layer of clothing. However, it can also dip to minus 40 in the shadows of the mountain and the winds can make it much colder.
McGinley’s gear includes a sleeping bag that can handle minus 70 degrees, down coat and pants for the summit. He uses 8,000-meter boots to keep his feet warm.
“You are not going to be comfortable the entire time,” he said told Cowboy State Daily prior to departure. “With all the gear that we have, it shouldn’t have to be a big concern if we brought all the right gear.”
McGinley has conquered Kilimanjaro in Africa, Mount Elbrus in Europe, Denali in North America, Mount Aconcagua in South America, and the Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia.
He attempted to summit Mount Everest in 2022, but had to turn back close to his goal because of the deplorable and dangerous conditions on the world’s tallest mountain peak.
He told the Cowboy State Daily that he hopes to be back in Casper by Jan. 14.
Dale Killingbeck can be reached at email@example.com.