Journal: Vinson Massif

Vinson Massif Climb
Oct 20, 2008

Hi everyone and thank-you for following along on my climb on Kilimanjaro , for your e-mails and kind words of encouragement . I have now successively climbed six of the seven summits, the highest mountain on each continent. Less than two hundred people in the world have achieved this goal and less than a dozen Canadian's. In November of this year I will be heading to Antarctica for what I think will be an exciting time. I am still looking for a select few sponsors to participate in the successful completion of my 7 Summits * expedition. These sponsors and their employees will have a special window into my world as a high altitude climber as I attempt the final summit, Mount Vinson in Antarctica.

Mount Vinson is the highest mountain of Antarctica, and one of the seven summits, the highest mountain on each continent. Located about 750mi from the South Pole. The mountain is about 13 miles long and 8 miles wide. It is in the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains, which stand above the Ronne Ice Shelf near the base of Antarctica Peninsula. The first ascent was in 1966 by Nicholas Clinch and his party. In January of 2001 a GPS reading gave the elevation of Vinson Massif to be 16,066ft.

George Mallory once said

If you cannot understand that there is something in a man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself, upward and forever upward, then you won't see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is , after all, the end of life . We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for. 

Cheers


Fort McMurray to Rhode Island
November 23/2008

Hi everyone,
In the week before I left my hometown of Fort McMurray it was crazy to say the least. Working with all of my sponsor's and the packing and repackaging of all my gear. Father Patrick Mercredi High school and all their students gave me a very big and warm send off with the Mayor and other dignitaries saying a few words of praise and encouragement .The whole time their school band played live music, what a great job! I left town on the 21 at 12:55 am. I arrived in Rhode Island to the bright smiling face of my climbing partner of 2007 Mr. Tim Warren. Tim didn't make it to the top of Everest that year but with the heart of a lion he went back this year and I am so proud to say that on May 24 at 5:11 am with permission from Chomolungma, Goddess of the universe. His crampons dug deep into the hard packed snow as he pulled himself to the highest point on earth. The last couple of days have been fun seeing old friends and making new ones. Tim and I took some time to go kayaking and it was good to feel the fall air and work the body a little. I will say good-bye to Tim and my friends today and leave for the next leg of my journey to South America. 

Cheers


OH-lah
November 28/2008

OH-lah " Hello "

I arrived in Punta Arenas "Chile" last night at 12:25am and was very happy to see that my luggage had arrived with me.
I grabbed a el taxi cab to the hotel and after a little something to eat I was fast to sleep. The hotel is located next to the ocean and I must say it is very windy here. I was up early and hiked about five hours around the city and took a stroll alongside the ocean. Tomorrow I have another day to myself and I will use that time effectively to sort my climbing gear for the job ahead.

I look forward to the hardships in the following weeks in Antarctica, and to working within the team. The line between tragedy and triumph is small. I will always say getting to the summit is the goal and the objective but getting back down that's success.

"On great mountains, all purpose is concentrated on the single job at hand yet the summit is but a token of success, and the attempt is worthy in itself."  ----Charles S Houston

Cheers


Briefing for Antarctica
December 2/ 2008

Hola "Hello

Last night the last of our team arrived. Today we had our briefing for the flight to Antarctica. What a crazy day it has been, with all the packing and repackaging of all our gear to try and make the loads lighter. We will also load the plane today, and as soon as the weather gives us the window to fly we will be on our way. From this point on we will be on stand-by . The call can come in at any moment to fly.

Their is another team flying with us and their objective is the South Pole.

At the end of my smile there is a laugh'n a half

Cheers


The Mt: Vinson Team
December 4/08

Hi Everyone
Hola, Hello

The weather is still not in our favor for the flight to Antarctica, with everything from high cross winds to low cloud cover. There is no airport were we are headed , just ice as far as the eye can see, so the weather and the timing of our departure from Punta Arenas is very important .To make a long story short we are still on stand by.

I thought that I would take this time to introduce the team.

Dave Hahn U S A
Bob Pospischil U S A
Sissel Smaller Norway
Bandar Al-Saud Saudi Arabia
Ben Kurdt U S A
Greg Benatar South Africa
Al Hancock Canada

I feel that I have aligned myself with some of the best climbers around.
Dave is our team leader and if there is a top ten of the best in the world, then without a doubt Dave is one of them. We have four climbers with Everest experience; two of the seven team members are going for their six of the seven summits and myself going for number seven. I feel with all that experience we have a very strong team.

Cheers


The waiting game
December 4/08
6:44pm

Hi everyone,

Another day in Punta Arenas. We have three phone calls to make everyday. The first call is at 9:30am and the second one is 2:30pm and the last one is 6:30pm to check and see if its a go or no go for the flight to Antarctica.
After we had our 2:30 check in time to see if we would be flying and found out that we were free till the 6:30, the team went down the coast to check out the penguins. The wind was so strong I found myself bending forward to gain ground. As I looked upon the ocean and saw the waves breaking against the shore it brought me back to a time long ago when I was a little boy growing up in Newfoundland.

Tomorrow is another day and the weather does seem to be getting better. Everyone is in high spirits.

Hi Mom and Dad. Hope all is well
Cheers


Eight days in Punta Arenas
December 6/08

Hello everyone

The team and I are still in Punta Arenas waiting for better weather. The problem is not here in regards to the weather but in Patriot hills, which is in Antarctica. There is no airport at this location. The runway is a short strip of blue Ice and if the cross winds are to high then we cannot fly. The airplane that we use for this leg of the journey is on wheels and its a big plane. If the pilots were to try and land with high winds then we would be blown of the hard packed blue Ice and that would be bad for everyone.

I have been keeping up my training by going to the gym and swimming at the hotel where I am staying. I also walk around town for at least four hours a day at a fast pace as part of my fitness conditioning.

Cheers


Welcome to Antarctica
December 7/08

Hi everyone,

Yesterday we thought we might fly but at 9:30 it was a no go, then at 2:30 we were all ready to go and the cross winds were still to high, so it was back to our rooms. Then the call came in at 6pm to get ready, by 8:37pm we were in the air. The plane that we were flying in is a Russian cargo plane " IL-76 ". And the pilot's and crew are also from Russia. The flight time to Patriot hills took us about 5hrs. Once we put our tents I was in my sleeping and fast to sleep, it had been a long day. With 4hrs of sleep I was up and packing my gear for the next flight to Mt: Vinson base camp. The plane we will be using from here will be a twin otter made in Canada and the pilot's are from Calgary.

To all my Sponsor's and their employees, family and friends welcome to Antarctica.

Cheers


Mt. Vinson, Base camp
December 7/08

In the cold afternoon the plane took on a life of its own with all our gear and us on board. At 1:36 it struggled to find lift, with warning bells going off as the nose dipped forward, then up again until we were air-borne and headed for Mt: Vinson base camp. The flight would take us 56min and the altitude here at base camp is 7,320ft. At the moment I am not sure of the temperature, but it sure is cold. 

Once we arrived, tents had to be erected and gear sorted. Tomorrow we will make a carry of gear to a higher camp not only will we be carrying our packs but we will also be hauling sleds as well.
Everyone is looking strong and in high spirits. We are all happy to be here in this land of ice and snow and look forward to the coming weeks.

Hidden crevasses, storms, cold, avalanches, oxygen deprivation.  Just another day at the office.

Thank you to everyone who left a message of encouragement on my website.

All the best,
Cheers


Base camp to camp 1
December 8/08

The city that I am so proud to call home. Fort McMurray, Alberta . The greatest asset we have is its people. Come for a visit and you will feel the warmth, hospitality, kindness, you will feel the Big Spirit. Believe me you will want to come back. Not to mention all the great facilities. 

When we talk about Big Spirit. Here is a rising young star from Fort McMurray .She has just put out her first music C-D, her name is Amy Heffernan. Great music Amy, your C-D is being played from your hometown and all the way to Antarctica and everywhere in between.

Cold last night followed me into my sleeping bag the way a predator would chase a rabbit, and it would not release it grip until it entered every pour of my body. The only sounds I could hear were my teeth chattering. Today the team and I carried a load of food and equipment to camp 1 at an altitude of 9,460ft. It has been a long day. Tomorrow we will move our tents to camp 1. Everyone is in high spirits.

Cheers


Camp One
December 9/08

Last night I changed my strategy before I went to bed. The first thing I did was to drink a hot cup of tea to warm the core of my body. The second thing was to put boiling hot water in my drinking bottles and stuff them deeply into my sleeping bag. I had a fairly good nights sleep. 

Today the team and I packed up our tents and other climbing equipment and with packs on and sleds in tow we headed for camp 1. From here the sleds will be stored and from this point on, everything will be in our packs. Tomorrow we will do a carry
To camp 2 and enter the vertical world, this should take us 7hrs up and 2hrs back. It will be a long day.

The team is working hard together and safety is always at the forefront. Everyone is healthy and in good spirits.

Cheers


Cache at camp two
December 10/08

Last night the bitter, bitter cold descended upon us and would not release it grip until the next morning. My hands felt like wood as I tried to put on my climbing boots. Here in Antarctica at this time of year there is no darkness, only twenty-four hours of daylight. At night it gets bitterly cold, but when the sun is at a different angle during part of the day, you feel like a egg in a frying pan. 

Today the team climbed over a thousand vertical meters to reach camp two. There we would leave three days of food and other supplies and equipment. We buried the cache in the snow and took a GPS reading so we could find our gear when we move up to camp 2. Coming down the ropes we had to be extra careful, we were all so tired. Once we arrived back at camp 1, we had some hot soup to warm the core of our bodies. The team is working really hard together but at the moment we are all so tired. It has been a long day. I look forward to my sleeping bag.

Cheers


Rest Day
December 11/08

With blisters on our feet that have broken and are now raw, face and lips that are scorched from the sun. With the body aching from carrying a heavy backpack, we decided to take a rest day today. A day to take care of our individual needs, to rehydrate our bodies and to get some much needed rest. Tomorrow we will move to camp two. 

Everyone is in high spirits. We all look forward to the days ahead. As I write this I can hear snoring in one tent, in another conversation and laughing. I am blessed to be here.

The only true wisdom lives far from mankind, out in the great loneliness, and it can be reached only through suffering. Privation and suffering alone can open the mind of a man to all that is hidden to others.

Caribou Eskimo Shaman

Cheers,


High camp
December 12/08

From the very beginning success can only come with proper planning, when we talk about Safety, Teamwork and the Environment we all have an opportunity to lead by example. 
Our actions both on the job and at home will determine our future. In the mountains around the world or at work, Safety is paramount; there is no room for mistakes. I call it keeping my on the ball. Your organization may call it something else but the same ideas and principals apply.

With calf mussels crying in pain, backs straining against the heavy back backs and the waist belts digging into the flesh we set out for
camp 2 or high camp. Six hours later we arrived, everyone in different levels of exhaustion, some more than others. The day was not over yet we still had to dig out platforms for our tents and then put them up. After all that, the stoves had to be started and snow melted for drinking water. Once we were some what rehydrated we had something to eat. It was well after midnight before we could crawl into our sleeping bags.

Cheers


Summit Attempt
December 13/08

Hi everyone,

Our goal as a team was to make a summit attempt today, but the weather gods would have us stay in camp 2 or" high camp for another day. Hopefully tomorrow the weather will be on our side and we can make an attempt then. The altitude here at high camp is 12,400ft.

This final leg of the climb is dedicated to the en-enduring spirit of my late brother Derek. Sometimes, in the mountains I feel as though I am not alone. Is he with me, That I cannot answer but I miss him and he will always be my Big Brother.

Al


We did it
December 14/08 


The day started of with bad weather, At around 8:30am pockets of blue sky could be seen amongst the clouds. With only one more day of food left at high camp we decided to climb and see if the weather would get better. As we climbed higher the weather did get better and at 7:18pm I stood on the summit of Vinson Massif my seven of the seven summits (the highest mountain on each continent). Everyone on our team made it to the summit.

I would like to say, Thank you to all of my sponsor's without them this would not have been possible .To my family and friends and all the people who have made the road a little easier for me to travel, Thank you as well.

I will update as soon as possible.

Cheers


On the Summit
December 17/08
This happened on the 14th

Arriving on the summit of Vinson Massif I felt very thankful for all the sponsors, and how everybody was a link in the chain of success. I also had the opportunity to share the moment with my Mom and Dad. While I was on the summit I gave them a call via sat phone and talked to each one of them. To hear their voice, that will always hold a special moment for me. 

After taking some photos the team and I started the grand traverse across the face of the mountain. The exposure and views from this angle was spectacular. The exposure here was so great, that one of the climbers commented that he was scared. I am only mentioning this, to give you a sense of the height, exposure and the thin line between triumph and tragedy.
Once we were off the ridge we headed down and across huge snowfields. As we climbed back down to high camp the weather took a turn for the worst, thankfully there was no wind, just bad visibly. Roped up together we pulled into high camp tired and hungry, it had been a long day.

"In the immensity of these ranges, at the limit of existence where men may visit but cannot dwell, life has new importance. But mountains are not chivalrous; one forgets their violence.  Indifferently they lash those who venture among them with snow, rock, wind, cold.. "
George Schaller

Cheers


Off the mountain and at Mt: Vinson base camp
December 17/08

This happened on the 15th

We were up early today. I had some oatmeal for breakfast and some coffee. After breakfast the team and I started packing our climbing gear and tearing down the tents. We will climb down the vertical section with very heavy backpacks. This section is very steep and long, once we were of the ropes, we climbed across snowfields to camp one to pick up the rest of our personal gear and group gear. With shoulders crying in pain, we shouldered our backpacks and pulled sleds all the way to base camp. After putting up our tents we had something to eat and everyone crawled into their sleeping bags for a good nights sleep .We had hoped to fly out on the 16th to Patriot hills but the weather was bad. Today the 17th, we are still in Vinson base camp waiting for better weather but also before we get picked up, there are people at the South Pole who get picked up first.

Hello to everyone, in my hometown of Fort McMurray, Alberta and to my native province of Newfoundland. I am so proud to hold our provincial flag and to be the first Newfoundlander to climb Mount Everest and all the seven summits on seven continents. I always say to my Mom, I am a long way from 11 ocean drive today (that's the street that I grew up on) and she says, yes you are son.

Cheers


How my day started, how about yours?
December 18/08

4:32am and I am awake, I pop in my I-pod and start the day with tunes. I reach deeply into my sleeping bag for my booties and in the process brush up against the tent, the nights breathing has turned into snow. That happens in this environment where it's so cold. The temperature here can be -30c to 40c or lower. As I slip from warmth of my sleeping bag and head out side to go to the latrine, I stop in mid stride, I am in a thin pair of long underwear and in an instant the cold wraps its arms around me, I am paralyzed from the cold, should I keep going or dive back into the warmth of my sleeping bag, Well what should I do...Ill tell you, I turn up the tunes and half dance all the way.

When we talk about the environment, different countries have signed treaties in regards to Antarctica. This is a beautiful clean continent and as climbers we have a responsibility to keep it that way. Every scratch of paper and every bit of #2 by everyone is taken off the mountain. Leave no trace behind. We hope that in the days to come, even our boot prints will be filled in by the weather.

Well that's how my day started, how about yours.

Cheers, from Antarctica.

They have picked up the people at the South pole and we are next on their agenda, depending on the weather


Still at Vinson base camp
December 20/08

Hi everyone,

Just a little update, The team and I are still at Vinson base camp due to bad weather. This is a tricky place to land a ski plane. For depth perception, for the pilot, there are green garbage bags filled with snow. Also he has to land going up hill on the glacier and then do a 180* turn. The flight from here should take about an hour to get to Patriot hills. We will see what the day brings.
Everyone on the team is healthy and in good spirits. They all send out their love to their loved one's.

Cheers


The team is back at Patriot hills. We were in the air at 5:00pm
December 20/08

The radio call came to get ready, that happened on and off all day. The plane was airborne at one time, but turned around because of bad weather. Then to everyone's surprise the call came in, the aircraft was in the air again and 45min away. Then out in the horizon you could see the plane very small at first and then it got bigger and bigger. You could feel the excitement in everyone. We had been at Vinson base camp sense the evening of the 15th. After landing at Patriot hills the first thing we had to do was erect our tents in high winds, blowing snow and very cold temperatures. It was great...

Antarctica is a magnificent place. The temperature here is very cold -30c to -40c and lower. With wind and snow blowing, a sky line that goes on as far as the eye can see. This is truly a very magical place. As I walked around camp, I was trying to absorb everything around me, the force of the wind, the snow even the cold. I will miss this place called Antarctica and my teammates. I have been blessed just to be here.

With sustained effort and sincerity, Discipline and Self Control. The wise become like islands. Which no flood can overwhelm. Thus we descend from our arena that much stronger. Foraged by storm and sorrow, This fortress of mind and soul, Immovable as this Mountain
Anonymous .....

Cheers


Mystical beast
December 21/08

Last night the fabric of our tent was being pulled in every direction as if some mystical beast were trying to get in. Like the mist coming under the door of a house in a horror movie, so did the cold find its way into our tent and moved around until it penetrated every portion of our space. Then it just sat there with a cold smile, as if watching over us. We tried to go deeper into our sleeping bags but before we got to the bottom he was already there.
Early in the morning, I slipped into my boots and down jacket before anyone else was up and went for a walk. With the wind and snow blowing I pulled my hood tightly over my head and enjoyed the opportunity to be alone. At the present time the weather is a little foul, but if it improves we might be able to fly out tonight.


The storm rages on
December 22/08
11::22am

The storm continued to rage all around us yesterday .Here at patriot hills, at the moment there's about 100 people, of that number about 40 are staff. Patriot hills is the launching pad for climbers going to Vinson Massif and ski teams going to the South poll. To keep busy yesterday, everyone participated in doing different activities, such as building a ice snow henge " a replica of stone henge, a big ice hand and other activities .You could hear people laughing. Everyone was having fun and in high spirits. Later in the day with icicle's hanging off us and cold bodies, we all went inside the main tent and Dave Hahn, gave a talk on George Mallory,"A Very good talk. Our food storage was getting a little low but three years ago IMG did a food cache, six feet under the snow and Dave had the GPS readings. With the location of the food cache and shoves in hand, we dug. We found the three bags and now we have lots of food. Last night I had the opportunity to have some conversation with some fellow Canadians who have just returned from a successful expedition to the South Pole. Last year , Fred, Peter, Steve and Mark made it to the North pole but what's really exciting is that they did it all for charity . In the two expeditions they raised over one million dollars .Please check out their great web-site. South Pole for kids.ca

The storm was so strong yesterday that at times you could only see 40ft in front of you. It rages on today with a vengeance and the weather report for the next few days, get ready, its going to get worse. Welcome to Antarctica.
Everyone is doing well. At night we sleep in our tents but by day we are in one of the Big tents. There's lots of room to move around and stand up. We also do all our cooking here. The size of this tent is 12x36. Like I said lots of room.

Cheers


My sincere gratitude
December 22/08
17:16pm

To all my Sponsors,

I would like to express my sincere gratitude and say thank you, for playing such a major roll in my quest to climb the seven summits . The highest mountain in each continent. Because of your generous support I now have all seven completed. I look forward to the coming months, to coming into your organizations and meeting you and all your employees.

I look forward to us working together, sharing my experiences in the mountains where Safety, Teamwork and the Environment are the themes. Those same values and beliefs, I feel are in your work place.

It looks like we will be spending Christmas here in Patriot hills. The weather forecast for the next three or four days is supposed to get even worse. At the present time you cannot see 30ft in front of you.

I wish all my sponsors and their employees, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from Antarctica
Cheers
Al Hancock


December 23/08
12:04

As if a wolf was caught in a leg trap, with pain and agony surging through its body. The wind would howl all night long, only the thin fabric of our tent would keep us from the violent storm that battered us. Without the thin fabric that we call our tent you would freeze in no time. All night long we had to dig out our tent or suffer the conscience of suffocation. Early in the morning to get outside, once again we had to dig ourselves out of the tent. Once outside, the whole world seemed up side down.
It seems so long sense I have seen the sun or felt her warmth against my face. My body feels af its been in a meat locker way to long.

To my Dad,
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday day dear Dad, Happy Birthday to you.
Clap...Clap ...Clap

From all of us in Antarctica.

Have a great day Dad. 
Love you,,,Al 

Cheers


I do have a PDA and a Satellite phone
December 23/2008

Hi everyone,
Just a heads up, I do not have a laptop with me so, no e-mail as such. I am carrying a sat phone and PDA, so if you want, you can send a message to me at hancock@explorersweb.com I will receive the message when I tap into the satellite but I just do not have the time to answer everyone. Thank you for all your kind words of encouragement. 

Happy Holidays 
Merry Christmas to each and every one of you.
Cheers From Antarctica


Loving every minute of it

December 24/08

Like your favorite song that you smile to as you fall to sleep. The sound of a train in an old Johnny Cash song. Last night as I was snuggled down deep into my sleeping bag all I could hear was the roar of the wind as it ripped across Antarctic. As Our tent was being pulled in different directions, I felt at ease in my sleeping bag, with a smile on my face as I drifted of to sleep.

The intensity of the storm has dropped to some degree, to the point that you now have some visibility. The wind however is still very intense and tries to blow you away.

Being in the mountains or in this environment with all it has to offer, good, bad, inside out, outside in. I love every minute of it and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Its a part of me, its who I am.
Cheers


December 25/2008

To my family and friends, to all my sponsors and their employees, to all the Newfoundland people, where ever you may be, and everyone in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. A special place I call home" Fort McMurray "my home town. To all the people, young and old in Canada, USA and all around the world.

With a twinkle in his eye, as he climbed aboard his sled.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a Merry Christmas ....


The power of the mind
December 26/08

Hi everyone ,

Today the sky's are a beautiful blue and there's no wind in the air. The Russian cargo plane is in the air and somewhere over Antarctica on its way to pick us up. The plane should be here around midnight if all goes well. All our tents have been taken down and our personal gear is packed in the duffel bags and ready for the flight. Everyone is in good spirits and looking forward to the flight to South America. The flight should take about 4 1/2 hrs. It's good to feel the warmth of the sun on my face once again.

The power of the mind

Where ideas are born and dreams created
The vision and the yearning of the dreams
They are adheard to.
The wish of making them come true
Focusing on the goal
Where I want to be,from hearts desire
Being true to my dreams , day and night
They become a part of you, a part you are loyal to
Sticking to them
The motivation and driving force born, by my longing
The joy and sorrow when the dream is fulfilled
The power of the mind

.....Rune Gjeldnes......


Three ingredients to success
December 27/08

As an archer lines up his arrow towards his target, so did the cargo plane on the ice of Antarctica to take us back to South America. At 1:48am as we were airborne. I can remember looking at my watch with mixed feelings, happy to be on the move again but sad to be leaving. Antarctica is a vast beautiful place, when the weather is good and the skies are blue, the horizon seems to go on forever but if the weather turns bad it can cut through you as if you were invisible. The brutality of Mother Nature can come in the blink of an eye and last you a life time. You always need to be aware of your environment and be willing to adapt to it all times, you need to have total respect . Be it in your back yard or in Antarctica, the same principals apply.

Thankyou, Thankyou

To everyone who followed my website and my 7 Summits Quest. If I have a message its simple, Believe in yourself.

To all the younger generation, I do not know where success will lead you but I can tell you one thing, where it starts.
It starts in school.  Education will give you knowledge and knowledge will give you the power to choose, to choose your path in life. There are three ingredients to my success, Believing in myself, education and hard work.

With out hard work the first two will not make a big difference, you need all three.

For me, mountains are made of rock, ice and snow but for you, it can be completely different. I encourage you to go out and climb your mountain today.

There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled.
You feel it, don't you
....Rumi.....

My name is Al Hancock and I am just the guy next door.


Dreaming, and a clean shave
December 28/08

Good day everyone,

After being in the mountains and the same clothes for over twenty two days a shower and clean clothes were in order. Next on my agenda was a clean shave and a hair cut. I must say after my clean up, I had to look twice in the mirror, I didn't recognize my self without the beard/ the wild man look. It is always an adjustment coming back from an expedition, like last night .I kept dreaming that I was in a bed with sheets. When I woke up "ha-ha, on me. I was in a bed and not in my sleeping bag with my pee bottle. Their are other adjustments as well, to name a few, color/ plant life, abundance of people, the simple act of turning on a faucet for water and not having to melt snow for it.

Today, myself and the last two of my team mates Bob and Bandar left Punta arenas for the flight to Santiago Chile. They are headed home.
For myself, I am off on another project. I expect to be back in Canada
By January the 8th./09

Cheers


Come along, and bring your passport
December 29/08

Hola "Hello ,
Buenos tardes " Good afternoon
Todo el mundo "everyone

In the past, I sent only dispatches from the mountains but this time I thought that I would do something a little different .

Are you ready,
don't forget you're passport. Welcome to Peru...

I will not reveal my final destination in Peru, but if you come along, It will be both exciting and breathtaking.

Welcome to Lima

I found the city to be a mixture of Old and Modern, and the people were both warm and friendly .In the couple of days that I was there, I had a chance to visit the beautiful San Martin square and the Main square of Lima. In the Main Square, I stood before beautiful Cathedrals, and the Government Palace, but what was really cool, was the chance to visit The Church and Monastery of San Francisco de Asis with its famous Catacombs, the first cemetery of Lima and its valuable library.

After walking all day and visiting other places within the city, I thought that I would sit for a while and try the National drink, Pisco Sour
Cheers,



Happy New Year Everyone

January 1/2009

Welcome to Cuzco, Peru

For the last couple of days I have been traveling around the small, but beautiful city of Cuzco or spelt Cusco. Again I find the people both friendly and warm. At one time the city was the heart of the mighty Inca Empire. One of the places that I had a chance to spend some time, was the Plaza de Arms. In Inca times, the plaza was called Huacaypata or Aucaypata and it was the nerve center of the Inca capital. Today it still plays same function to the modern city.

Today to start of my new year. I will be traveling to a place called, The Sacred Valley of the Incas. If someone would like to guess where I will be tomorrow and the height, and if your correct. Just sign my guest book on my web sight and I will send you a Project 7: Summits patch. I will give you a hint; the place was discovered in 1911.

Cheers


January 3/09

Hi everyone,

On the 24th of July 1911, American explorer Hiram Bingham with the help of a 12 year old boy named "pablito located the lost city of the Incas

The discovery of Machu Picchu left the world in awe. Today, it is considered one of the seven wonders of the world.

If you would like to learn more about Machu Picchu, try reading " The Lost City of the Incas by Hiram Bingham.

At 3am I slipped out of my comfortable bed into the pouring rain for the hike up to the park gate. At 6am the gate opened and I was first in line to enter. As I continued my hike, out of the mist my eyes gazed upon an image that I so often seen in photos, Machu Picchu stood before me in all it's splendor. I spent the entire day exploring the land of the Incas. I was in awe at every turn and felt very humbled to be here.
Cheers


To all my Sponsors and their employees, Thank you

January

Hi everyone,

It was brought to my attention that one of my dispatches didn't get posted to my web site and I must say an important one.

As a Canadian, I am very proud to represent our country on a global scale. From the great province of Alberta, I am thrilled to call Fort McMurray my home. I have carried our flag to the highest mountains around the world and I do so with so much pride. Big Spirit, Wood Buffalo represents so many people in our region. I am so happy just to play a small role. I am as equally proud to be a part of the extended family of Fenner Dunlop Americas in the USA.

To all my sponsors and their employees.
I couldn't have done the seven summits without you. Each and everyone one of you has played such a major role.


Thank you
Al Hancock

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