AC Antarctica 2013


Alpine Club Antarctic Expedition 2013

We would like to thank the following sponsors for helping us to make this expedition possible:

  ALPINE CLUB    Helsport    DMM

See a selection of Expedition Images
Expedition Overview

PJW9821smallOur team of 7 mountaineers & ski mountaineers from the Alpine Club has now returned from Antarctica after completing seven ascents of previously unclimbed Antarctic peaks.

PJW0389smallUsing the yacht, ‘Spirit of Sydney’, as we did for the 2010 AC Expedition, we established a route onto and up the south side of the complex and broken Trooz Glacier, allowing us to place a camp on the Belgica Glacier. This is on the north side of a chain of unclimbed, and largely un-named mountains that line the north side of Beascochea Bay. It is an area that has not been previously explored by climbers, and is often blocked by heavy ice.

Overlooking our first camp was Alencar Peak (1592m) which we climbed via the relatively easy north-east spur, which avoided, but gave a grandstand view, of the very unstable and broken north face. The following day we ascended the nearby Peak 1333m. Although the straightforward, the crux was a large crevasse, which we crossed by climbing an elegant ice fin, and then followed easy snow slopes to gain a lovely summit ridge.

PJW0274smallA day of thick cloud prompted us to move camp further up the Belgica Glacier to beneath the mountain that dominates the area, Valiente Peak. Starting off below a layer of cloud, we started up towards an un-named 2032m dome-shaped mountain, and soon emerged into perfect weather above a sea of cloud. Four of the team then traversed the mountain to make the first ascent of Valiente Peak (2270m) via the east ridge. After a superb ski descent we then had to cross back over Peak 2032, making this a very long and tiring day.

After another day of thick cloud on the Belgica Glacier the expedition was rewarded with our first totally cloudless day. We headed up a very attractive mountain above our camp, ascending fairly steep slopes on ski to reach a shoulder, where skis were depoted. From here we climbed two upper ice slopes, and followed a short ridge to make the first ascent of Peak 1475m via its north side.PJW0696small

The team then decided to return to the yacht in order to attempt the SE side of Mt Rio Branco, unaware that on the same day it was successfully climbed from the north by a French team led by Antoine Cayrol. While returning to the yacht we skied up the east and west summits of Lancaster Hill (642m and 616m). Although not high or hard, they did give a wonderful view of the spectacular coastline.


Westerly winds and heavy precipitation made it too dangerous to attempt Mt Rio Branco or any further peaks to the south and so the expedition headed to Paradise Harbour. With very strong winds forecast in the Drake Passage later in the week the team decided to return to South America while winds were still favourable, and to spend their final few days on the coast of the Cordillera Darwin.

While having a beach barbecue at Caleta Olla, club member Simon Yates emerged through the bushes, having obviously smelled the sausages and beer, and Stephen Venables arrived on a neighbouring yacht when we reached Ushuaia, making for a very busy Alpine Club summer in Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica.

The Alpine Club Antarctic Expedition was supported by the Alpine Club, Mount Everest Foundation, Julie Tullis award and Helsport Tents, whose support was invaluable.

For further information please contact Phil. 

See a selection of Expedition Images


The Expedition Team

Training in DerbyshirePhil Wickens (Leader) is an expedition leader and lecturer from Derbyshire. He has guided on over 30 small ship expeditions to Antarctica, spent 3 years as a field guide for the British Antarctic Survey, and led 6 yacht-based sailing/climbing/skiing expeditions to Antarctica, including the highly successful 2012 Eagle Ski Club Antarctic Expedition and 2010 Alpine Club Antarctic Expedition. His other climbing and ski mountaineering expeditions have taken him to India, Nepal, Pakistan, Greenland, Peru, Tajikistan, Svalbard, Caucasus and Canada.

Derek Buckle (British) was on the 2010 expedition and is Vice-President of The Alpine Club. He has an impressive record of first ascents in many remote mountain ranges: 8 ascents (5 first ascents) in Antarctica (AC 2011 Expedition),  1st ascents of Dobzebo, 6,429m (2005), Nganglong Kangri I, 6,720m (2004), Nganglong Kangri II 6,591m (2004), Beu-tse 6,270m (2003), and Machag, 6,020m (1999) in Tibet, six 1st ascents in the Lemon and Lindbergh mountains of Greenland (2002) as part of a grand ski tour and one unnamed 1st ascent in the Indian Garhwal (2008). Various first ascents in the Ak Shirak range of Kyrgyzstan Tien Shan as part of two ski tours in 2006 and 2008. First British ascent of Chatyn Tau in the Caucasus. Also some sailing experience (to Antarctica!).

Hannah Baker (British) has climbed in Ecuador in 2011/12 (Illiniza Norte (5126m), Illiniza Sur (5263m), Cotopaxi (5897m), Chimborazo (6270m), Cayambe  (5789m)), 2011 in Jotenheim (Norway) and Ecuador (Chimborazo), 2010 in Bolivia (Huayna Potosi (6088m), Pico Shultze (5943m), Pequeno Alpamayo (5370m)), 2009 in Alaska (Denali (6194m)) and 1998 in Ladakh, India (Matho Kangri I, II and Kang Yaze (6249m)). Some sailing experience.

The Expedition TeamStefan Jachmich (German) has extensive mountaineering and ski mountaineering experience in the alps, plus Nepal (Lobuche, 6119m) and Greenland (Pamiagdluk) in 2012.

Jamie Goodhart (British) is a medical student who has completed expeditions tothe Cordillera Blanca in Peru (10 peaks attempted with 6 successes), the Dungarian Altai in Kazakhstan (various unclimbed peaks) and Mt Kilimanjaro . 

Mike Pinney (British) has extensive mountaineering and ski mountaineering experience in the alps, plus 2011 Nepal (Kyajo Ri, reached 6050) and some sailing experience.

Bjorn Riis-Johannessen (Norwegian) has extensive mountaineering and ski mountaineering experience in the alps, and is a qualified SAC Mountaineering Chef de Course, and experienced sailor.