The American Alpine Journal 2018, Antarctica

08/10/2018 22:38

Antarctic Peninsula
Wiencke Island, Monte Pizduch, Bloody Nose
In 2014 I climbed the south face of an unnamed peak on the east coast of Anvers Island, which I named Monte Samila (64°38´56”S, 63°12´59”W). It gave a 1,500m ascent with difficult ice and unstable snow (WI5). Afterward, I sailed south to nearby Wiencke Island. On that occasion the weather was not on my side, but some of the island’s virgin summits registered indelibly in my mind.
In late December, Mira Dub and I sailed from Tierra del Fuego and anchored on January 5, 2018, at Port Lockroy, Wiencke Island. Next day a dinghy took us to shore and we skied toward the southernmost peak in the Wall Range, at the end of the ridge that extends southwest from Mt. Wheat. At 2:30 p.m. we started up steep névé at the base of a narrow couloir on the south-southwest face leading directly to the unnamed summit (64°50’0.18”S, 63°23’53.56”W). Near the top was a vertical section below a huge summit cornice. How we would overcome this was an unanswered question from the very beginning.
In late afternoon the sun reached the face and small amounts of rock and ice began to fall. One stone found Mira’s nose, but fortunately there was only a little blood. At around 11 p.m. we reached the vertical section. The ice was aerated, and I had to climb an entire 30m pitch without being able to place any screws. The following pitch involved mixed climbing on broken granite with collapsing powder snow. Finally I stood below the cornice. I went for the least overhanging part of this formation of inflated cotton wool. It was a terrible experience—I had the feeling that neither axes or crampons would hold.
At 2 a.m. we were both standing on the nameless summit, watching the mist roll in. We made tea and pitched a small tent, though we had no mats or sleeping bags. Four hours later the mist broke apart and we walked east-northeast along the corniced ridge, in the direction of Mt. Wheat. We couldn’t see any suitable descent and in the end were forced to traverse four tops before we could head in a more easterly direction down a wild glacier. Thirty-three hours after setting out, we regained the coast and were picked up. We named our summit Monte Pizduch (1,000m) and the climb Bloody Nose (850m, ED+ WI5+ M4 95°).


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