Antarctic Peninsula, Various Activity. In January, 1999, an Australian expedition aboard the yacht Tiama accomplished some of the most notable climbing in the Antarctic Peninsula in a number of years. Kieran Lawton, Julie Styles, Geoff Moore, Robyn Cleland, Roland Eberhard and Chris Holly made the first ascent of Pilcher Peak, climbing the south ridge after skiing in with sledges to the glacier on the east side of the peak. They had been inspired by a fine photo by Gordon Wiltsie that has appeared in a number of publications. However, the peak in this photo is not the true Pilcher Peak, but a sharp peak on a ridge leading up to the plateau that constitutes the spine of the peninsula. The real Pilcher Peak (as indicated on the map) stands out to the north of the plateau and was summited by all the group on January 16. The other smaller ridge peak was then christened “Wiltsie’s Peak” and was attempted by Styles and Lawton. They climbed for four days in poor visibility on the south ridge but were forced to turn back a mere 50 meters from the summit due to horrendous snow conditions. The party then skied back to Brialmont Cove where they made another three first ascents on peaks, including a rock spire, of altitudes up to ca.1800 meters. After leaving Brialmont Cove, the expedition visited Booth Island, where Styles, Lawton and Eberhard climbed a steep ice couloir on the southwestern side of the southernmost peak on the island—almost certainly a new route, though possibly not the first ascent of the peak.
Damien Gildea, Australia