10 February-USHUAIA, ARGENTINA
Arrive in Ushuaia and settle in.
11 February-USHUAIA, ARGENTINA
Explore the city. Ushuaia, often referred to as the most southerly town in the world, is set in a wild region of dense forests, mountain peaks, fjords and islands. Board the vessel, Akademik Shuleykin, in Ushuaia, Argentina. Once we are onboard we will be briefed by the ship's captain, lift anchor and set sail for the Antarctic Peninsula. We make our way through the Beagle Channel, towards the Drake Passage.
12-13 February-AT SEA
Heading south we cross the Antarctic Convergence, the point on the earth where the colder waters of the Southern Ocean meet the warmer waters from the north. With luck on our side we may catch a glimpse of White Chinned Petrels, Wilson's Snow Petrels and Black Browed or Wandering Albatrosses on a flight from South Georgia where they breed.
14-18 February-CUVERVILLE ISLAND
This is in the Gerlache Strait between Ronge Island and Arctowski Peninsula.
It is a very sheltered area with climbing on both Ronge Island and on the mainland. Cuverville is also home to large colonies of birds and seals. Rongé summit is 1160 meters directly from the sea and peaks on the Arctowski Peninsula are between the 1200 and 1500 meter range. Although Rongé has been climbed, the peaks on the Peninsula are largely untouched. There is also an abandoned British Antarctic Survey hut just next door on Danco Island that is maintained as a site of historic interest.
Between a wide range of climbs there is also a lot of non-climbing activity. This area can be prone to thicker weather than other areas further south. So if we arrive and it is unsuitable for landing then we will move onto the Penola Straits.
This area is just south of the Lemaire Channel. It is a spectacular arena, with generally brighter weather. The lay of the land is more extreme. Close to the ice edge in the Lemaire Channel there are steep couloirs for ice climbing. Slightly south however, on the mainland side it tends to be more open and rolling, therefore better suited for ski touring.
With all the recent media coverage on one of the Antarctic’s greatest explorers Sir Ernest Shackleton, enthusiasts will be delighted to know that we will have the opportunity to attempt Mt. Scott and Mt. Shackleton, two of the Peninsula's classics.
Mt. Scott (830m) has been climbed several times, but many new lines are waiting to be completed on the west face. This stunning area may have been carved especially for the ski tourer and by skiing to the East Side you can also summit Mt. Scott through a meandering glacier.
Mt. Shackleton (1465m) has also been climbed, but it is also a paradise for the ski tourer, being several miles inland and a fairly easy summit. This is a long day and possibly a night in the tent camping.
Booth Island, which borders the Lemaire, is still virgin ground. The highest point on the island is 980 meters and there is a selection of technical routes on all aspects of the island. Hovgaard Island, just to the south of Booth Island, is a low lying snow dome feature perfect for ski touring.
For those taking a day off, a visit to the Ukrainian Scientific Base Vernadsky is a must. This is a most welcoming base. It was originally operated by British Antarctic Survey (BAS) until a few years ago when they offered it to Ukraine as their first scientific station in Antarctica.
There are numerous, wildlife sites close by Adelie penguins on the Yalour Islands, Gentoo and Chinstraps on Peterman Island, and seals on the beaches at Pleneau Island. For scenic beauty and grand mountain panoramas, the Penola Straits are hard to beat.
In the afternoon we will arrive in Crystal Sound. Access to this area can be difficult if ice conditions are not in our favour. We will have this entire information well in advance. We chose this location for two reasons; firstly, the weather tends to improve the further south we sail. Secondly, due to the popularity of the Antarctic Peninsula as a destination, there is a possibility that there will be several cruise ships further north. Hopefully by sailing down into Crystal Sound we can be completely on our own.
The vessel will be moored near Prospect Point. This allows us easy access onto the glacier. Sharp Peak is a must for most climbers. It contains an obvious rock wall with easy snow climb on the backside. From Prospect Point we can ski, trek and explore and climb the many unclimbed and unnamed features that surround the large glaciers tumbling down off the plateau. This is exploratory climbing at its best. Offshore islands in the Grandidier Channel that are also interesting are Pilot's Peak and Mt. Duff Both have been climbed in the past but are a must while visiting the Antarctic, many of the remaining climbs have never been attempted.
Our days here will be spent climbing, skiing and snowboarding, and enjoying the beauty and wildlife of Antarctica, our last continent.
22-25 February[Skiing Home] [Snowboarding Home] [Climbing Home]
We leave the Antarctic Peninsula and commence our journey back to Ushuaia. Time now to relax and review our adventures as we sail for north.