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International Expedition Achieves First Ascent of New Antarctic Route

International Expedition Achieves First Ascent of New Antarctic Route
International Expedition Achieves First Ascent of New Antarctic Route
February 06, 2013 -  Five Ten    

An international team has succeeded in the first ascent of a major new route on the north east ridge of the remarkable Antarctic mountain, Ulvetanna (2930m).  Widely considered to be the most demanding peak on the harshest continent, the mile long ridge has been described as one of "the last great climbs".  The team, organized by Leo Houlding (UK), included Sean Leary (USA), Jason Pickles (UK), David Reeves (South Africa), Chris Rabone (UK) and award winning film-maker Alastair Lee (UK).

Ulvetanna (“the wolf’s tooth” in Norwegian) is the jewel in the crown of the FenrisKjefeten ("the wolf's jaw") range of mountains of Queen Maud Land, eastern Antarctica.  After months of preparation, the expedition began in late December, sponsored by British outdoor brand Berghaus.  The team reached the summit of the mountain on Wednesday 23 January in the worst conditions of the expedition, with the temperature at -35C and in high winds.  It then took two days for the team to descend Ulvetanna, strip it of any climbing equipment and return to base camp 5km away, from where they sent back news and some images of their climb.

Houlding and Leary had planned to BASE jump from the peak, but were forced to change plans when bad weather complicated the rest of the team’s descent down the NE ridge.  Instead, the pair helped everyone descend safely with all the gear.

Leo Houlding commented:

"Ulvetanna's fearsome north east ridge allowed us safe passage up and down from her summit, but not without showing a few teeth.  The landscape of endless white desert and giant rock fangs is totally out of this world.  At times in truly brutal conditions, we have all been pushed to our limits.  We have taken a beating, but come out on top – well, back at the bottom thankfully!

“We have just completed the first ascent of one of the world’s last great climbs and are all suitably psyched.  A decade of dreaming, a year of planning, a month on the ice, and a week on the wall and we have done it.  It’s a dream come true - nice one boys!"

A detailed account of the team’s experiences can be found in the expedition blog.



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