Ellsworth Mountains, Overview
Mt. Vinson (4,892m) continues to attract large numbers. One hundred and seventy individual climbers reached the summit during the 2012-13 season (a total of 184 successful ascents). Fourteen guides made two or more ascents. Only four clients failed to top out. Neighboring Mt. Shinn (4,660m) received five ascents.
American guide Robert Anderson and his clients did the probable first ascent of a 2,880m peak five kilometers south of Vinson base camp. This attractive ice peak forms a pyramidal end to the ridge dividing the Cairns and Tulaczyk glaciers, the unclimbed southern arm of the western ridge of the Vinson Massif.
In late December, Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions (ALE) guides Maria Paz “Pachi” Ibarra and Todd Passey led the returning German client Ralf Laier on the first ascents of three peaks: Mt. Allen (3,430m) and Mt. Liptak (3,052m) in the southern Sentinel Range, and Robinson Peak (2,038m) further south in the Heritage Range. Allen was climbed from the south, ending in a difficult corniced ridge, and took two attempts. Liptak had a mixed summit ridge of loose rock, after steep snow and ice on the northern slope. Robinson Peak, a rocky summit in the Pioneer Heights Range, was approached from the west, across the Rennell Glacier, and then climbed by the south ridge, with some technical rock pitches and exposed scrambling. The trio traversed the summit to the northern side, and traveled back around the east to reach their skis on the southern col.
Further south, in the Independence Hills, Scott Webster and friends made the first ascent of an elegangt unnamed ice peak north of Beitzel Peak and just south of the famous Minaret Peak, a distinctive rock tower visible to all who flew out of the old ANI base at Patriot Hills. With their American friend Andy Hein, they also made rare repeats of Mt. Simmons and Mt. Fordell.
Damien Gildea, Australia