Expedition Watch: Climbing the Wolf's Tooth

Bh_SP_ulventanna_2ndimage2The Drygalski Mountains. Photo: Berghaus.com

The realities of an expedition to Antarctica, where temperatures fall to -50 degrees and the wind can reach speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, are harsh. At night, for example, explorers must pack all those things they don't want to freeze into their sleeping bags. "Even your pee bottle," climber Leo Houlding said in a dispatch. "Or you won’t be able to empty it and might have to boil it up with your morning brew, as my tent-mate Jason did several times in Greenland. Not pleasant."

Houlding and five teammates are headed to Antarctica in mid-December to climb Ulvetanna. While tackling the peak will be a supreme technical challenge, the crew will also have to grapple with keeping their supplies in good shape. It will take four hours a day at an MSR stove just to melt enough ice for their water, and having access to that ice involves even more work. "Because huge stretches of Ulvetanna are dead vertical, much of the time there won’t be any snow to collect as we climb," said Houlding in a dispatch. "So we’ll have to melt enough snow at base camp to fill a 120-litre barrel, which we’ll haul up behind us, chipping ice out of it with ice axes every time we cook or make a cup of coffee in wall camp."

Here's a bit more* about the niceties of Houlding's expedition:

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