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Antarctica, Dronning Maud Land, Various Ascents, Previously Unreported

Dronning Maud Land, Various Ascents, Previously Unreported. In December, 1999, and January, 2000, our dream of dreams came true when, sponsored by the Elvia Insurance company, we traveled to Queen Maud Land, a beautiful mountain region in Antarctica. In the Fernisfjella (explored by the Norwegian expedition of Erik Tollefsen in 1993-94), we climbed Mundlauga by a new route, the West Face (snow and ice climbing to 55°) on January 1. We also tried a steep rock rib on the picturesque jagged summit of Midgard.

We then shifted our activities to the nearby Holtedahlfjella. It took us three long days and a maximum of concentration to cross the Sigynbreeb Glacier. As we later discovered, nobody had climbed in the Holtedahlfjella before; perhaps no one had been there before at all. From a base camp at 1400 meters, we reached the top of six mountains. We measured the coordinates and the height and gave them names (informing the Norwegian Polar Institute regarding these names upon our return). On January 9, we climbed Byrd Peak (1780-1800m), which is the north peak of Steinskaregga, via the west face (firn and ice) to the shoulder and on to the summit via the west ridge (broken rock).

On January 10, we made the first ascent of Elvia Peak (2200m; 71° 49.049' S, 8° 58.886' E) via the northwest face. Approach was made over the Sigynbreen Glacier, then through the Lukeš Gap to the Swiss Glacier. The ascent climbed the right part of the northwest face and involved ice climbing, with three pitches of 55-degree ice.

On January 11, we climbed the South Summit (1960m) of Steinskaregga. From the Sigynbreen Glacier, we approached an inlet from the southwest, then made the ascent from the south via easy broken rock to the top.

On January 12, we climbed Kubbestolen (2080m, 71° 46.976' S, 8° 54.206' E) via the funnel-shaped west face; this involved the same approach as for Elvia Peak. It was the most difficult route we did, a 650-meter ice route (50 to 60°) with two ice bulges that we had to pass on the right side.

On January 13, we climbed Carasole Peak (71° 49.529' S, 8° 54.929' E) via the East Ridge (broken rock). The approach was the same as for Elvia Peak.

On January 15, we climbed Soglio Peak (2325m, 71° 48.104' S, 8° 59.132' E) via ice on the northwest face (50° in one place), then along the north ridge to the left side of the top. The approach was the same as for Elvia Peak.

Cestmír Lukeš and Irene Oehninger, Switzerland