American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Antarctica, Ellsworth Mountains – Sentinel Range, Tyree, Attempted Repeat of 1967 Route

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2009

Tyree, attempted repeat of 1967 route. Walter Laserer, Chris Stangl, and I attempted the northwest ridge of Tyree (4,582 m). This is the unrepeated route of the 1967 first ascent, when Barry Corbet and John Evans reached the summit from a camp placed in the col north of Mt. Gardner (4,573 m), after ropes had been fixed down from the summit of Gardner. Leaving Vinson base camp late on November 30, we hauled heavy sleds up the ramp from the lower Branscomb to the col at the northern end of Boyce Ridge, before skiing onto the plateau west of the range. We camped west of Tyree and the next morning set a base camp at 2,345m, beneath the regular northwest route on Gardner. I’d climbed Gardner in December 2005 and January 2008, so knew the route well. Later that day we carried to a camp at 4,050m on the upper eastern side of Gardner. Temperatures at 5 a.m. were below -40°C. Later that day the weather changed quickly and forced us down.

A few days later we re-climbed to this camp, rested briefly overnight and reached the summit ridge of Gardner in two hours the next day. From various points near the summit we surveyed possible descent routes to the col and studied the northwest ridge of Tyree. Though the descent was not technically difficult, it was clear that to ascend this slope after a continuous push on Tyree would be demanding. More significantly, we felt that for us the northwest ridge looked too long and involved to be safely climbed and reversed in a continuous push. We concluded that, as in 1967, a well-stocked camp in the col and more rope would be the best option. Laserer and Stangl walked the last few meters to the summit of Gardner. I declined, so as to preserve good memories of that place and not override them with ones of failure. We skied back to Vinson base camp the following day.

Damien Gildea, Australia

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