After nine and a half days sailing across and finally getting to Puerto Toro, then Puerto Williams, we can now say that this expedition was a great success. Ada II and the team are safe and sound in Ushuaia. But don’t get it wrong, it isn’t time to rest yet: all the sailboat, the clothes, the equipment (the people ?) have to be cleaned and dried before everyone goes home. The mountaineers and sailors are now getting closer to their friends and family and can’t wait to see everyone again.
Thank you everyone for following this expedition, for your messages and for your support. This website is still going to be updated with new photos, videos and articles, so keep on looking !
Alexander Island and Peter the 1st Island
Too much ice and too much fog! Alexander Island is an awkward child: it was impossible for Ada II to berth. Oh well, it will be for next time…
Sailing to Peter the 1st Island wasn’t easy and a few stomachs weren’t at their best. However, sailors and mountaineers are now use to sailing with difficult conditions!
They got to Peter the 1st on the 2nd of March with bad weather: poor visibility, snow, fog again and the landscape was very austere. It is a black and white volcanic island and it looks very… tough! On Thursday Ada II had a closer look and finally found a place where to drop the mountaineers off. On Friday the 5th, they started climbing Lars Cristensen Peak. After 10 hours of had work they were unfortunately back at the boat. The ridge was full of large crevasses, there was a lot of wind and once again visibility was bad. Lars Cristensen won’t be climbed this year!
Everyone is now preparing the boat so as they can leave on Saturday and sail the 1000 miles to Cape Horn. Weather shouldn’t be very good…
After a day at the local zoo watching birds, sea lions and penguins (that smell bad !), the sailors dropped the mountaineers on Pourquoi Pas Island on Wednesday the 17th of February. They climbed with success (yes, again !) Perplex Ridge, arrived at the top at 3pm on thursday and were back on the boat at 10am on Friday. It was then snowing. While the team was climbing, the sailors worked hard to find some water so as everyone could have a hot shower. Ada II is becoming a 4stars hotel ! They started heading South towards Alexander Island where the climbers should do their last ascent before getting to Peter the 1st Island. On the way, they stopped at the Argentinian base of Saint Martin and had a very good time with its inhabitants. They are now heading more South, in a totally different landscape: bigger icebergs, more ice and less land.
Sailing with Makao
Ada II met Makao, a fellow sailboat. They sailed together and took some beautiful pictures. Ada headed to Fishs Island to have a look at Waldeck Peak, which ended up being beautiful but far too dangerous. She is now heading towards Marguerite Bay.
Our adventurers stopped at the Ukrainian base of Vernadsky. They met up with the inhabitants and shared good moments of music thanks to Kiddo’s guitar and Tristan’s trumpet … and emptied a few vodka shots. Ada II filled up with gasoil.
Let’s go Ada ! Head for Booth Island ! The goal: Wandel Peak at 980m, a straight line of snow, rock and ice. Lionel, Patrick and Mathieu managed it no problem, except for Mathieu’s “visit” of a crevasse. Was it a first? To them, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the pleasure they get in climbing together, the joy they have when seeing the views they get, the friendship and trust they have with the sailors, the human experience.
"Fake" Cap Renard – Pléneau Island
Ada II sailed down the Lemaire canal and moored at Pléneau Island. The mountaineering team received an invitation to climb a beautiful icefall on “Fake” Cap Renard. They couldn’t possibly refuse it ! It happened to be a superb 550 m ice route which end provided a breathtaking view on the island and its surroundings. It was for sure the best present Dod could receive on his birthday !
Port Lockroy – Wiencke Island
The sailboat took our 6 team members to a totally different environment : Port Lockroy. It is one of the most popular tourist spots in the Antarctic: cruise ships land hundreds of tourists every week, to visit the base and see the penguins. There is such a gap between Ada II and these cruise ships: in size, pollution and purpose.
The mountaineers spotted a nice ice route on Wiencke Island and, of course, got very excited about it ! After getting off a bad start on the 28th of January because of bad weather, they returned to the boat to celebrate Tristan’s birthday, with a nice cooked meal and a cake. On the 30th, they made another start and managed to climb a steep 1100m ice route on the West face of Luigi di Savoia Peak, in 13 hours. They got down fine and got picked up by the sailors. This new way is “Bon anniversaire Tristan”.
Braband Island – Mount Parry
Ada II moored in the Melchior Islands for 8 days, waiting for better weather conditions and giving the mountaineers time to sleep and rest. On the 21st of January, the sailors finally managed to drop the mountaineers off on the coast of Braband Island. Their goal: the NW arête of Mount Parry, a first. They had to stop around 1150m because of the bad weather conditions and the soft snow. They set up their bivouac and waited for 39 hours in their tent for the weather to get better. The next 1000m were beautiful: an elegant and logical way, with no serac dangers but many crevasses. The last 500m were much more difficult: imagine a vertical route made of end-of-season wet snow. Patrick defied the law of gravity and finally managed to do the last 100m … in 4 hours. His companions followed with all the gear and heavy bags. On the 23rd of January, at 6pm, Mathieu, Lionel and Patrick contemplated the most magnificent landscape with sea, ice, confetti islands (icebergs) and rock. At that point, they couldn’t guess what would follow. They got back to their base camp first and then to the beach, at 1pm. Isabelle told them she couldn’t come to pick them up because of the waves and they had to wait for a day or two. No problem with a tent and food !... but as she said that, a huge wave hit the beach and took away food and equipment ! Dod was drenched ! Patrick and Mathieu took care of him and built a shelter in the snow. They had to spend the night on the island and finally got back to the boat in the morning … to empty some food cupboards !
Smith Island – Mount Foster
After dropping the mountaineers on Smith Island, Ada II went back to Deception Island to wait. Smith Island is the highest island in the South Shetlands. Its highest peak, Mount Foster (2100m) was climbed for the first time in 1996 but no one had ever tried the NW face yet…which is why they decided to give it a try. The base camp was settled at the bottom of the way. On the 11th of January, Mathieu, Dod and Patrick started their climb. The first 1000 meters were quite classic, with snow slopes and ridges. Then, Mathieu and Patrick discovered frost climbing which gave Mathieu a good scare in a 15m fall. Dod was more of an expert thanks to his previous experience. The landscape was absolutely beautiful and amazed everyone: frosted mushrooms, ice cracks, cornices and white candles. The ascent became more difficult and Dod took the option of climbing around on the left by an overhanging serac. As soon as he step foot on it, the whole thing collapsed and fell 1000m down. Dod was hanging on the rope, safe and sound. The rest of the way went quite well and when they got to the summit at 2am an orange light was colouring the sea, the icebergs and the mountains… what a prize ! It took them 15 hours to go back to their base camp where the sailors came to pick them up, happy and tired ! This way has been baptized “Le vol du sérac”.
Let's go !
On the 3rd of January 2010, Ada II left Ushuaia harbour with a very excited team on board. After a stop-over in Puerto Williams (Chili), Ada spent 4 days crossing the Drake channel. Everyone on board was sea sick, except Isabelle and Kiddo who must have hidden supernatural powers. The team waited in Deception Island for a couple of days for everyone to recover. This island is a former whalers’ base and a volcano which has a distinctive horse-shoe shape that offers good mooring. Impatient as they are, our mountaineers already started preparing their first climb.