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Antarctica, The Peninsula, Livingston Island, Tangra Mountains, Lyaskovets Peak, First Ascent; Zograf Peak, First Ascent

Tangra Mountains, Lyaskovets Peak, first ascent; Zograf Peak, first ascent. Lyaskovets (62°39'48.5" S, 60°08'34.7" W) is a peak of elevation 1,473 m in the 30km-long Tangra Mountains situated on Livingston Island. It is bounded by Catalunyan Saddle, separating it from the summit of Mt. Friesland to the west, Shipka saddle separating it from Levski Peak to the east, and Macy Glacier to the south. A side ridge descending northward overlooks Huron Glacier, ending up in Zograf Peak. The conspicuous adjacent landmark of the Sphynx is a fantastic rock-cored ice formation in Catalunyan Saddle. Lyaskovets was climbed for the first time during the Tangra 2004/05 survey by a two-man team comprising Dr. Lyubomir Ivanov, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, participant in four Antarctic expeditions and chairman of the Bulgarian Antarctic Place-names Commission, and Doychin Vasilev, alpinist, filmmaker, and climber of five 8,000-meter peaks including Mt. Everest. The ascent started from Camp Academia, the survey base camp located on the Huron Glacier at elevation of 541m close to the base of Zograf Peak. The base camp area itself is accessible either by helicopter or—as in our case—by skiing an 11–13 km overland route leading eastward from the Bulgarian base St. Kliment Ohridski or the Spanish base Juan Carlos Primero via Willan Saddle and Orpheus Gate. The peak was climbed on December 14,2004 for the purposes of GPS surveying and compiling a photographic documentation of geographical features in eastern Livingston Island. The route taken from Camp Academia up to Catalunyan Saddle (1,260 m) is four km of solid but crevassed firn surface. Lyaskovets is completely glaciated, with precipitous west, south and east slopes, so the ascent route (UIAA III) first traversed the west slope until the north slope was reached, from where the summit—itself split by a crevasse—was easily reached. Any fall during the crossing of the western slope would have likely resulted in serious injury or death. Common risks derive from unstable snow bridges on the route to Catalunyan Saddle, as well as from the notoriously bad local weather—changeable, windy, humid and sunless. Temperatures are rather constant—at that elevation around 0°C in summer, with wind chill temperatures some 5°–10°C lower on the average. Whiteouts are frequent, and blizzards can occur at any time of the year. The ascent was made on a rare day of perfect weather, allowing for magnificent views to the Antarctic Mainland 120 km away across the Bransfield Strait.

The satellite Zograf Peak (1,011m: 62°39'06.4" S, 60°08'54.1" W) was ascended by Lyubomir Ivanov in blizzard weather conditions on December 31 by way of the saddle between Lyaskovets and Zograf. That UIAA II route is heavily crevassed all the way to the glaciated summit.

Lyubomir Ivanov, Bulgaria