16,067 ft.
Antarctica
 
Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, driest place on Earth and has the highest average elevation of all the seven continents.  It covers over 5 million square miles and is 98% ice.  Winter temperatures range from
   
-112F to -130F, with the coldest temperature recorded at -170F.
 
     
Mt. Vinson journal entry: Nov. 17, 2008  Next>

“The journey has begun.  I am at the airport and want to shout to everyone I pass…”I’m going to Antarctica!”  Just the sound of it is so amazing to me.  I have dreamed of stepping foot on this continent for many years.  Now, in a few days, I will begin my quest for summit #6.  I am overwhelmed with emotions.  I am excited, nervous, hopeful, joyful, blissful, and apprehensive all at once.  The mountain doesn’t scare me, but the cold is worrisome. I will be camping in Antarctica for at least two weeks.  Am I crazy?!  Sometimes I think I have lost my mind.  Spending $40,000 to freeze my body to bone chilling depths does not seem sane to me.  On the flip side, spending $40,000 to fulfill a priceless dream makes perfect sense.  So what drives me to these exotic, far away lands?  That pure pleasure that I melt into, when faced with adventure and challenge.  This climb will be extremely difficult in many ways.  The cold is an obvious factor.  We were told to expect tent temperatures of –25 and temps outside could get down to –100, if wind chill comes into play.  Then comes the element of sled dragging.  You can train for it, which I did, but nothing prepares you for the grunt work involved in pulling 50-60 pounds uphill, when the air is thin.  At times it is torturous, but finishing the days work is exhilarating.  Couple these factors with the addition of a 50 pound pack, and you have the recipe for an expedition.  So my mind is set, my 52 year old bones are as good as they are going to get, and my spirit soars…at least for now.  I am moved by the joys of my life at this moment in time.  I have gratitude in my heart for the gifts I have been given.  Family, loved ones, and health, are the riches of my life.  Time to dive in head first.  Goodbye creature comforts.”