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Antarctica, Dronning Maud Land, Fenris, Orvin Fjella Mountains, First Ascent

Fenris, Orvin Fjella Mountains, first ascent. In December 2003 Mike Libecki and I were landed at an altitude of ca 1,200m close to Ulvetanna in the Orvin Fjella mountains of Dronning Maud Land. Base camp was established at 71° 51,264 S, 08° 22,552 W. We first circumnavigated the Orvin Fjella range, on route repairing an unmanned weather station for Stanford University and NASA. By climbing a few moderate ridges, we discovered most of the rock to be highly decomposed.

After our ski tour we decided to attempt the unclimbed 600-meter west face of Fenris (2,680m). The first pitch proved the most difficult; over 70 meters of A4 on which no bolts were placed. Above, a crack system appeared to split the remainder of the wall, so we started up the face in capsule style on January 2, 2004. On the 15th we reached the knife-edge summit and began a series of 14 rappels back down the wall. Only bolted anchors were left behind. A full account of this climb by Mike Libecki appears earlier in this Journal.

Josh Helling, AAC