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Antarctica, Antarctic Peninsula, Mt. Scott, North Summit, Ascent, and Other Activity

Mt. Scott, North Summit, Ascent, and Other Activity. From December to January, an Australian party aboard the yacht Tooluka visited the Peninsula. All the climbers aboard attempted to make the probable first ascent of Mt. Zeppelin (1265m), southeast of Eckener Point. Starting from an ice landing in Graham Passage to the north, they camped at 500 meters but eventually retreated due to deep snow, poor visibility and heavy snowfall during the one and half days they were on the peak. Lucas Trihey, Chris Jewell and Keith Tuffley then made an ascent of an unnamed pyramid-shaped peak (1320m) above Neko Harbour in Andvoors Bay. After landing by inflatable boat, the group skied to half-height, then followed a 45-degree ridge over moderate ground with only a few crevasses posing any real difficulties, before reaching the summit in a whiteout and strong winds. Following this, the Tooluka party undertook a three-day ski traverse on Wiencke Island. From the northern tip of the island, they followed the eastern coast, over the Thunder Glacier to Port Lockroy, mostly in bad weather. This party also skied various slopes on Enterprise Island, Hovgaard Island and Doumer Island.

As a finale, Tooluka then visited the popular Mt. Scott (880m) above Lemaire Channel and made what was probably the first ascent of the north summit of this peak via a ridge on the west face. Trihey and Jewell climbed about 35 pitches straight out of the water in a 29-hour push to the summit. They encountered ten pitches of rock up to grade 5.7 and in Trihey’s words, “mega-exposure, hideous, Andean-style, razor-edge ridge climbing, an awkward gendarme and excellent ice gullies.” Ascent required abseils, which would have made retreat difficult. A fast descent was made in good conditions down the glacier to the north of the peak.

Damien Gildea