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Antarctica, Northern Victoria Land, Mount Minto

Mount Minto, Northern Victoria Land. Mount Minto (4163 meters, 13,658 feet) is the highest point in Northern Victoria Land. It had been unsuccessfully attempted several times. Our climbing party was made up of Lincoln Hall, Jonathan Chester, Lyle Closs, Glenn Singleman, Chris Hilton and me. We sailed from Sydney on December 31, 1987 in a 63-foot schooner manned by Don Richards, Colin Putt, Peter Gill, Ken Scott and Margaret Werner. We were landed in Antarctica at Cape Hallet on February 1. From there our route was up Edisto Inlet to Football Saddle and thence to the Tucker Glacier. We ascended this to the Man O’War Glacier and to the base of Mount Minto. We left the coast with one motor toboggan but we lost this at the end of Edisto Inlet. From then on, we man-hauled all our equipment and supplies the remaining 130 kilometers to Mount Minto. From Base Camp at 7000 feet at the head of the Man O’War Glacier, we took a day to cross a small pass to the head of the Ironside Glacier. After a day of storm, we climbed the south ridge from 10,000 feet to the summit with a temperature of -50°C and descended to the base of the mountain. The route was technically easy. About 1500 feet of easy rock were followed by 1500 feet of a very elegant snow ridge and finally 500 feet of moderately-angled snow, leading to the broad summit. We returned to the ship and set sail for Australia on February 26. The boat was knocked down twice in a force 11 gale, our sails were tom and the motor failed. We sailed through four major ocean gales and were blown to New Zealand, landing safely in Christchurch on March 22.

Greg Mortimer, Australia