Casper mountaineer Dr. Joe McGinley got to the top of Antarctica’s tallest peak Monday, marking off his sixth of the tallest peaks on each of the seven continents on the planet.
A spokesman from Alpine Ascents, which is sponsoring the attempt, reported via satellite phone recording that McGinley’s “Crazy Horsed” group successfully summited 16,050-foot Mount Vinson on Monday.
“The team made it to the top of Mount Vinson at 5:30 p.m. local time,” the spokesman said. “We are all back at camp safe and sound. Everybody had a good time, (but) it was pretty windy.”
A posting at the physician’s practice Facebook page also confirmed the team made it to the top.
‘They Pushed Through’
“This afternoon, Dr. McGinley successfully summited Mount Vinson, his sixth of the seven highest peaks on each continent,” the post states. “They pushed through a bad storm and -50-some windchill to reach 16,050 feet. He feels great but happy to be warming up at high camp! Congrats!!”
Diane McGinley, his wife, was not available for comment. Dozens of patients and others have offered congratulations for the achievement.
One responder wrote: “Congrats to you! How exciting and cold! Anxious to hear about it!”
The weather forecast for Mount Vinson at mountain-MMcforecast.com called for cloudy conditions at 6,500 feet. As of noon Casper time Tuesday, the team was almost at 7,000 feet as they descended the mountain. Temperatures there called for 5 degrees Fahrenheit and windchill of minus 8 degrees. Mount Vinson is 20 hours ahead of Casper.
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. Despite the mostly below-zero temperatures, McGinley said hiking in the sunshine can be warm and only require one layer of clothing. However, it can also dip to minus 40 degrees 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 Fahrenheit, 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, 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.”
In addition to Mount Vinson, 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. A trip to Mount Everest last May was not successful due to several factors on the mountain.
He told Cowboy State Daily prior to leaving for Antarctica that Everest “is still on my list for sure.”
Plans call for him to be back in Casper by Jan. 14.
Dale Killingbeck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.