Magazine Jul-Aug 2018
We have no doubt that the next few days, as we go further inland to explore unchartered territory, will be nothing short of extraordinary. In addition to our thirst for adventure, we have a very clear goal in mind – to find new routes and peaks in the surrounding mountain ranges. Ultimately, we want to use this pioneering challenge to raise awareness for a cause very close to our hearts – the plight of underprivileged women affected by climate change. We chose Antarctica because it is a powerful symbol of this struggle, since it is also fighting for its own survival. In fact, this world’s largest desert, which is 98 percent covered in ice, is melting at an alarming rate. The continent is losing large chunks of ice the size of cities from its coastline as a result of global warming, and when these icebergs melt and increase sea levels, there could be catastrophic consequences for our planet.
After a few days in Union Glacier, we get ready to explore. The entire Heritage mountain range is spread over multiple glaciers with many hidden crevasses, but despite our reservations, our team sets out in high spirits with our climbing equipment, camping gear and a generous supply of food because, depending on how the weather behaves, we may be out there for several days. The climate in Antarctica is extremely volatile and conditions often change dramatically and suddenly. As soon as we reach the Larsen Valley, an area still largely unexplored, we set up our shelter for the night – our first night out alone in the wild. We are the only living things in all this landscape; like tiny dots in the middle of nowhere, our location is the very essence of remote. Over the next few days we set out on multiple exploratory climbing trips that vary from hard technical ascents to magnificent ridge traverses with views over the Ronne Ice Shelf and Polar Plateau. We attempt steep ice and snow couloirs, classic ridge traverses, icy crests, rock pyramids, hidden valleys, and unclimbed peaks. We are blessed with good weather for the most part and are therefore able to establish several new routes, claim the first female ascent of one peak, and the two first ascents of unclimbed mountains. As a result, we get the right to name these
JUL / AUG 2018 THE AMERICAN CLUB
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