9. Lionel Albrieux, Didier Jourdain, Sébastien Bohin, François Savary, Sébastien Ratel, Dimitry Munoz

Unsupported Traverse of Tierra del Fuego’s Cordillera Darwin

Cordillera Darwin

Cordillera Darwin mountain range, Southern Chile     Photo: Jbaranao/Wikimedia

Since 1976, members of the French army’s elite High Mountain Military Group have trained by flinging themselves at some of the world’s toughest adventure objectives, from climbing virgin Himalayan peaks to skiing to the poles. In September 2011, six of the Chamonix-based adventurers pulled off one of the division’s most ambitious missions yet: the first traverse of the Cordillera Darwin, a remote, relatively uncharted 8,000-foot-high range on Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, at Chile’s southern tip. How burly was it? The numbers parlent for themselves. 

28 Days on skis
26
Days roped up
155
Miles traveled in total
656
Feet the team covered on its most difficult day
2
Days pinned down by weather
0
Chance of rescue
3
First ascents of peaks en route
165
Pounds of gear each man’s pack and sledge contained at the start of the trip
57,086
Cumulative feet of elevation change
40
Liters of fuel carried
4
Pairs of underwear per person
8
Days of merely unpleasant weather
75
Highest sustained winds, in miles per hour
1956
Year the most recent map of the region was drawn
1
Human inhabitants (Jose, a hunter)
1/2
 Number of freshly slaughtered cattle given to the soldiers, by Jose, upon completion of their journey

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