Alpine Club claims first ascents of six Antarctic peaks


The following report was sent by the UK Alpine Club:

The Alpine Club Antarctic Expedition, led by Phil Wickens, has made the first ascents of 6 Antarctic Peaks, making it one of the most successful mountaineering expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula in recent years.

After being dropped off by IAATO yacht Spirit of Sydney in Deloncle Bay (part-way down the Lemaire Channel), the team hauled sleds for 2 days up the Hotine Glacier to place a camp at 850m from where ascents were made of the prominent Mt Nygren (1454m) and an unnamed peak that is erronously labelled Mt Shackleton on the BAS maps, which we are referring to as False Mt Shackleton (1476m) and would like to propose the name Mt Faraday after the former British Base in the vicinity.

Using a perfect weather window we then made the first ascent of Mt Matin via the SW ridge. This mountain, which was named by Charcot after the French newspaper, and which is given the height of 1360m on the map, was found to be over 1000m higher at 2415m, making it one of the highest (the highest?) on the northern Antarctic Peninsula mainland.

We then moved camp to the base of Mt Cloos, which forms the steep east side of the infamous Lemaire Channel, and made ascents of the south and north (main) summits, the latter given steep and somewhat threatened climbing up the edge of an active serac band. After a successful pick-up by Spirit of Sydney, the yacht was trapped in heavy ice in Pleneau and had an exciting time escaping it once the wind had died.

On the south side of the Ferguson Channel at the entrance to Paradise Harbour we made the third ascent of Mt Banck, before sitting out bad weather and then re-locating to Andvord Bay. We were dropped off, in very challenging conditions, on the south shore at Steinheil Point, and after working our way through an icefall, camped below Dallmeyer Peak. From here we were able to climb 1500m to make the first ascent of Mt Inverleith (2038m) via the broken north face.