January 6, 2014:
Happy New Year! On Dec. 28, 2013 our team successfully reached the summit of Mt. Sidley, the highest volcano in Antarctica! After being delayed by weather for 7 days, we eventually left Union Glacier Camp in a twin otter, refuelled half-way, and four hours later landed in the crater of the volcano itself.
After waiting out a storm in base camp, we set off. The weather was great and though it was physically challenging, the sky was clear and there was no wind. Our sleds were relatively light and after leaving them at high camp and catching a few hours’ sleep, we reached the top after a 5-hour climb. The weather turned windy and cloudy near the top but this didn’t slow us down.
Mt Sidley’s summit mini-plateau is dotted by large, rather surreal ice mushrooms which were about 10 feet tall or more. It was hard to know exactly which one was the highest, and our guide Dylan led us slowly through the mushroom field consulting his GPS.
“Is it this one?”
“Maybe…. wait. No, it’s not.”
(Trudge trudge trudge…)
“This one looks like it could be it?”
“Let me check…”
More details on the Sidley expedition here.