2012 in review   1 comment

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Best wishes to everybody in 2013!

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 810 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted December 31, 2012 by Expedition Support in Uncategorized

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Detailed Report and Photos from Phil Wickens   Leave a comment

I’ve updated my website, with the expedition report, images and videos:

regards, Phil

Update from Phil Wickens Jan 13   Leave a comment

Subject: Alpine Club Antarctic Expedition 2010: REPORTS, ARTICLES AND PHOTOS

 Hi All, and a belated Happy New Year, and I trust that you all made it home safely.

I have finally been able to pick up my emails after my jaunt around Patagonia. I am now on the Vavilov and have a ship-board email address, and am heading back across the Drake. Cerro Torre and Fitroy were fantastic for the Christmas period, and it was nice to trek in such an area and scramble up easy summits (even if the bus journey was 22 hours each way!). They certainly look worth visiting for a climbing trip – I quite like the look of the Whillans Route on Poincenot…

AC report (website, newsletter): When I sent the initial preliminary report from the yacht (which Lindsay used as the basis of his BMC article, and which Dave subsequently sent to Adele for UKC) it was copied to David Baldock, as well as Damien Gildea. I am assuming that David didn’t receive this (and neither did my parents), so I shall get in touch with him and see what he would like. Mike’s article is great, and thanks Mike for getting on with this; I think that Dick would prefer to be the first to publish it, rather than having it on the website as well, so I think it best to send it to him first, and I will send a shorter overview to David. Once the newsletter is published it would be nice to have the article on the website as well. I’ll go through the article as it stands, make any corrections and comments, and send a revised version around. Regarding photos, I’ll send a dozen to Mike when I am back in Ushuaia on Jan 22 which might be good for the article, though I am sure you have plenty of good shots earmarked! Does anyone have a dozen or so shots prepared that could be sent to David for the website while I am still at sea?

Gino Watkins Preliminary Report: Thanks Oly for writing your article and sending it to SPRI. It reads more as an article rather than a report, and makes no mention of the later climbs of the expedition, finances, etc., though they may be interested in using it in their newsletter. There are a number of typos and a few things that need correcting so I’ll send those shortly. Over Christmas I wrote a preliminary report which summarises the trip (I am currently working on the map for this), which Claire Lampitt requested by the end of January (ready for the Gino Watkins meeting in February), so I’ll also send that off when I am back in Ushuaia on the 22nd. Did you send a copy of your article to Claire as well?
I’ll send the preliminary report text around to you guys for comment, and when it is finished send you all a PDF version.

Final Report: In progress, following on from the Preliminary Report.

AJ Report: Derek is on top of this.

Photos: Could everyone pick out their 10 or 15 best, which would be useful for the final report, articles, slideshows, etc., and once any tweaks are made (colour balance, straightened wonky horizons, etc) send JPEG copies to mail@philwickens.co.uk (unless anyone can set up a Google Docs page for sharing the images that may be more suitable).

Here’s a couple of web publications about our trip that you may not have seen:
I havn’t seen the latter since I don’t have internet access, so if someone could check that it’s OK that would be great. The UIAA would like to use a photo from our expedition as one of their revolving home-page photos!

The BAS mapping unit have been in touch regarding the new heights – they are very interested in our data and so I shall pass on my GPS info to them, and they have told us how to formally apply for the name of Mt Faraday which I shall do.

All the best for the New Year,


Richmond returns to Cape Town   Leave a comment

Received this picture today of Richmond returning to South Africa on December 23 at Cape Town airport. Looking a bit tired and pale…

He fully recovered over Christmas with family and friends, however.

Arriving Cape Town Airport

Richmond Arriving Cape Town Airport (photo by Avis MacIntyre)

More pictures to follow, but some are posted here.

Posted December 28, 2010 by Expedition Support in Preparations

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Excerpt from “Port Lockroy Update” Antarctic Heritage Trust.   Leave a comment

From Antarctic Heritage Trust.  This just noticed …


Port Lockroy Update

Letter from Lockroy  – 11 December 2010

This week we welcomed back the yacht Spirit of Sydney, skippered by Darrel Day and Cath Hew.  They had spent some days around the Peninsula, with Phil Wickens leading a group of ambitious climbers from the historic Alpine Club (Mike Fletcher, Derek Buckle, Stu Gallagher, Dave Wynne-Jones, Richmond MacIntyre, Oly Metherell).  They had the most wonderful weather window for around 10 days, giving them the chance to make an unprecedented number of first ascents, including Mt. Matin SW Ridge (2400m), Mt. Nygren East Ridge (1450m), Mt. False Shackleton North Face and East Ridge (1480m), Mt Cloos South Summit East Face(980m), Mt Cloos Main Summit East Ridge (1200m), Mt Banck NE Face (675m – third ascent,after Belgian and New Zealand ascents), Mt Inverleith North Face (2040m), and also our very own Jabet Peak.  Our many congratulations to them all – what an amazing achievement!

Full article here

They made it to Ushuaia… now on to BA and home for Xmas!   1 comment

Quick and excited note from Avis, Richmond’s wife…

“After nail-chewing past midnight,  I was finally woken at about 03:30 with this SMS: “21:30 booked on Air Malaysia departing BA 23:30, direct to Cape Town International, arrival about midday.”

So it seems as though the whole team will get out around the same time, going their separate ways after being ship-mates and “cozy” tent-mates for the past month. What a change as they head back to their homes, soft beds and friends and family. Stormy cold weather is still disrupting most of Europe, however, so we hope they reach home in time and in one piece.

Richmond returns to a very warm South Africa and a hot welcome from his family and friends.

Pictures and more details will be forthcoming after the Xmas festivities…

Congratulations to the intrepid team led by Phil Wickens are definitely in order, not to mention the incredible support and expertise provided by Darrel and Cath on Spirit of Sydney.

Trapped in Puerto Williams-Will They Make it Home for Xmas?   2 comments

Message from a disappointed Richmond late last night:

“Trapped in Puerto Williams. Weather has turned 30-35kts southerly and authorities have closed the port. Port such as it is. A sheltered embayment (?) with a little timber jetty, a broken down old ship and a ramshackle naval base. We can see Argentina on the other side of the Beagle. A Polish yacht foundered in the Beagle a week or so ago (it was asking Spirit of Sydney for anchoring place in Pleaneau Bay three weeks ago – to ask means inexperienced and shouldn’t be in these waters. Anyway, sadly three evidently died and it seems the Chileans are now being over cautious. I could well miss tomorrow’s flight on SAA to Johannesburg and Christmas with the family. The next flight to South Africa is Sunday, I believe.”

So the expedition team may well not make it home to their families and loved ones in time for Christmas. But better safe than sorry, judging by the tragic fate of the Polish sailors.


NEWS ITEM: Beagle Channel yacht tragedy

‘Nashachata wrecked in Beagle Channel’    .

World cruising yacht Nashchata has this week smashed into rocks in the Beagle Channel during a violent storm, and two of the crew have been killed.

The 16.1 metre steel expedition yacht was in the middle of a world cruise and just returned from Antarctica when it lost power during the 60knot storm and decided to try to take cover in Sloggett Bay.

The seas were reaching five metres at the time. The same storm was responsible for tearing off roofs and downing trees in the nearby city of Ushuaia, the most southerly town in the world.

Rest of story here in Sail-World.com

Associated Press Story

2 Polish brothers dead in Argentine yacht tragedy

(AP) – 6 days ago
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — A yacht returning from Antarctica smashed into rocks during a powerful storm, killing a Polish sporting goods executive and his brother, the Argentine navy said Thursday.

Navy Lt. Martin Ribeiro said the yacht Nashachata lost engine power in the Beagle Channel early Monday as nearly hurricane-force winds of more than 110 kph (68 mph) tore off roofs and downed trees nearby in the world’s southernmost city, Ushuaia.

“The weather conditions were very bad,” Ribeiro told The Associated Press. “The waves were higher than 5 meters (16 feet).”

The sailors managed to enter Sloggett Bay and drop anchor near the Argentine shore, but at some point the mast broke and their line snapped, tossing the yacht’s captain Marek Radwanski and his brother Pawel to their deaths in the frigid water as the boat smashed against rocks, Ribeiro said.

The sailors’ emergency distress signal was picked up by Chile’s navy, which has a base in Port Williams on the southern side of the channel, and was passed to Argentina’s navy, which despite the dangerous conditions sent two boats out to search for the boat in Argentine waters.

Five surviving crew members made it to shore, where they huddled overnight before the weather eased and they could be rescued Tuesday. Rest of story here.

Posted December 22, 2010 by Expedition Support in Ushuaia

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Article by BMC (British Mountaineering Council)   Leave a comment

Six Antarctic first ascents for Alpine Club team

A seven-man expedition from the Alpine Club, organized by the experienced Antarctic traveller Phil Wickens, has picked off six first ascents on the Antarctic Peninsula, including what may have been the highest unclimbed peak on the northern mainland of the Peninsula.

Derek Buckle, Mike Fletcher, Stuart Gallagher, Richmond MacIntyre, Olly Metherell, Wickens and Dave Wynne-Jones, sailed with Spirit of Sydney to the southern sector of the Lemaire Channel, from where they hauled pulks inland for two days up the Hotline Glacier to establish a camp at 850m.

More here….

Port Lockroy to Puerto Williams   2 comments

Report by Richmond received noon EST

Puerto Williams

21 Dec.  10:30 Puerto Williams (Chile)

We left the Antarctic (Port Lockroy)  +\- 09:00 17th.

Very mild passage. Two sick (Derek & Mike) for a short time, others all fine. Winds to 40kts only, but still hardly party time on board, being cold and very bumpy, the boat pounding  and banging incessantly made sleeping in the forward cabin difficult with lots of ‘airtime’.

Sighted Cape Horn mid day yesterday, northwest wind prevented a landing and we sped past on a broad reach amongst the various islands and into the Beale Channel. Moored at Puerto Williams 22:30 last night, had dinner ashore (Beef Wellington, care of Phil) and then most of us to the Puerto William’s yacht club bar – a half sunken ship resting three boats across from us. Darrel is presently on land to clear Chilean immigration so we can cross to Ushuaia (Argentina) and clear in there. We should be on dry land by this afternoon and spend tonight at the same house we stayed in four weeks ago.

Flights out tomorrow morning from Ushuaia for me and the afternoon for the others. ”

Yacht Club Puerto Williams

Yacht Club Puerto Williams (photo by Wandering Bear)

From Wandering Bear

Puerto Williams is much more  fun (than Ushuaia), with only visiting yachts & the best bar in the world. The Micalvi is an old Chilean ship, that was towed into the creek sinking. which then became its final resting place. It is not the yacht club, which really means it has a great bar, full of yachting history & memorabilia & serves the best Pisco sours for thousands of miles. It’s got a list of about 10 degrees, so you’re never quite sure if it’s you, the pisco sours or the boat that’s not right …… See more pics by Wandering Bear here.

Weather in Drake Passage   Leave a comment

It’s positively balmy in Ushuaia with a break in the weather in the Drake Passage. Maybe the guys will arrive in reasonable shape and no blocked heads (toilets) as happened on the way out. Considering their amazing achievements, they should be celebrating all the way back.

Weather from Google Earth