Arctowski Peninsula, Port Lockroy/Wiencke Island, Paradise Bay and Cuverville Island, Ascents and Descents. Doug Stoup, Stephen Koch, Hans Saari, Kris Erickson, Rick Armstrong, Jared Stackman and Rick Hunt were on the Antarctic Peninsula for an exploratory adventure from February 11-25. The team fired out a nine-day ski blitz, basing out of the ritzy Akademik Shuleykin, an ice breaker complete with sauna and a five-star chef. Utilizing Zodiak rafts to access remote islands and bays, the team notched seven first descents, ranging from cruiser fun runs to desperate icy chutes.
With little photo documentation of the Antarctic Peninsula to work with, the expedition came armed for the worst, not knowing what the terrain would be like. They found Alaska-style terrain beyond their wildest dreams. Three of the descents—“Tina Point,” “The Shuleykin” and “Lowe Peak”—were first ascents as well. The 2,000-foot Lowe Peak was named in honor of legendary climber Alex Lowe, who was killed with Saari and Erickson on the Shishapangma Ski Expedition in Tibet last fall. The team also skied The Honey Bowl, Sunshine Daydream, The Whale’s Tail on Mt. Demaria and the horror show Zeiss’s Needle on the Arctowski Peninsula. Zeiss’s Needle sported some of the most technical skiing, with the top sliver nearing 60 degrees and barely 180 centimeters across.