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  1. #1
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    TR: Antarctica 2014

    About a year ago while recovering from surgery for my broken neck, I started looking into the Ice Axe Expedition trip to ski in the Antarctica Peninsula. Inspired by TRs here from RiderX, Gnarwhale, and others. My wife also came along and did the trekking option. Sorry for the long TR, don't think there is a regional forum for this area

    Day 1 (Nov 1, 2014) - SAN to ATL to EZE to AEP to USH
    Was actually 2 days of travel to get to Ushuaia, Argentina. About 20 hours of flying and many hours of layovers. First one was in Atlanta and got to visit with my Grandma and have dinner at the Ok Cafe. After the red eye to Buenos Aires, we had about 8 hour layover and had to transfer airports, so I planned a private city tour. It was also our 1 year anniversary, so couldn't get away with sitting in the airport all day. City tour was very good and they also got us a really good exchange rate for USD to ARP, www.silverstarcar.com. Highlights included:

    Walk around La Bolca:


    Catedral Metropolitana with the tomb of General Jose de San Martin, leader of independence:


    Tour of Casa Rosada, their version of the White House:


    Cementerio de la Recoleta. a very interesting graveyard with fancy graves:


    Some not so nice and you could see human bones:


    Yummy dinner of Steak and empanadas and then to the airport for the flight south.

    Day 2 - Martial Glacier
    Went back to the airport to get the rental car in the morning and waited for the weather to improve before going up to the Martial Glacier. Visibility was really bad, but got better as the afternoon progressed. We went up to the Col, which was the only visible high point when we started on the snow. I forgot my camera in the car, so photos are from the wife's cell phone.

    Me skinning:


    Topped out at the pass. Then back down to the drainage junction. Nice corn snow down:


    Went for a second run on a steeper pitch near the actual glacier:


    All we could eat meat, at La Estancia. Best lamb I had ever had.


    Who knew they also made beer:


    Day 3 - Tierra del Fuego NP
    Was very windy, so we went to the Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego for hiking and sight seeing. Narrow gauge railroad with big peaks in the background:


    Hike along a river to water fall:


    With wild horses:


    Trail along the Beagle Channel:


    Southern end of the highway to Alaska:


    Options:
    Last edited by 406; 02-23-2018 at 11:11 AM.

  2. #2
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    Day 4 was the start of the official Ice Axe Program. We met our guides and groups and went out to Martial Glacier.

    Rope practice:


    Booting up a chute to the ridge line:


    Nice views:


    Lots worthy of exploring:


    View of Martial Glacier area:


    Group dinner at the hotel:


    Day 5
    We had to drop all the gear at hotel lobby that morning, so no option to ski. I planned a hike to a lake, but we started at the wrong trailhead and didn't make the lake. Still got some good views:


    Passed several waterfalls:


    Back to town to drop off the car, group photo, and get on the ship:




    Our room:


    Double rainbow:


    Full double rainbow:
    :
    Last edited by 406; 02-23-2018 at 11:13 AM.

  3. #3
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    Day 6 - Drake day 1
    Warm and sunny on the first day of the Drake. Todd Offenbacher seems to be sucking his thumb while napping:


    I brought 24 of these in town for about 50 cents each for myself while on the ship. The ship charged $5 each:


    Almost seemed like we were in the south pacific:


    Day 7 - Drake day 2
    We crossed latitude 60 south and the weather turned to winter. Also got to see some hump back whales:






    And icebergs:


    Food on the ship was amazing:
    Last edited by 406; 02-23-2018 at 11:14 AM.

  4. #4
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    Day 8 - Chiriguano Bay

    Awoke to this view out the room window, peak in the foreground turned out to be our first ski objective:


    Andrew McLean scouts the landing zone:


    Penguin:


    Seth Morrison's group also started at our zodiac landing, I forgot to ask him how he liked Digital Deaths questions while doing the AMA on the TGR Forum:


    Skinning up:


    Then a bit of booting to the shoulder:


    Run down was ok. Unfortunately my group wanted to return to the ship for lunch, I was wanting to skip lunch and ski more. After lunch we went to another zodiac landing. Nice and sunny with great views:


    At the top:


    Run down was really nice past giant ice faces and some cravasses starting with winter snow and corn down low:


    Rest of the group wasn't up for a 3rd run, but Ode the guide was up for taking me. Up we go:


    Ode:


    I was excited to ski some steeper slope, but f up on the 3rd turn...of course there was a large crowd down at the zodiac loading area and Seth's group was just below the run, guess I'm not going to get invited to AK:


    Seal sleeping at zodiac area:


    Back to the ship:


    Awesome scenery as we sailed south:




    Good sun set:
    Last edited by 406; 02-23-2018 at 11:15 AM.

  5. #5
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    Day 9 - Damoy Point
    Next morning awoke to less nice weather:


    Lots of penguins:


    It was really windy:


    Took a run on firm snow:


    Then checked out the hut:




    Back to the ship. The plan was to go further south through this channel:


    But too much ice:


    Day 10 - Paradise Harbor
    Still not the best weather, but there was fresh snow, so the turns were better. I moved into a group that wanted to maximize skiing. Guide was Rich Meyer, mag Speedfreak was also in the group. Along with a Canadian, Austrian, and 2 Italians. Strong group and we did about 4000 vertical feet that day.

    Put the rope away after the first lap:


    Speedfreak wants more:


    Still a bit of weather, but we found a zone near some rocks with a little more visibility and really nice snow:




    Lots of penguins:


    Day 11 - Enterprise Island
    Weather was too bad for skiing, but we got out for Zodiac ride. Lots of icebergs:


    Also got to see an Emperor Penguin.

    It kept snowing:
    Last edited by 406; 02-23-2018 at 11:17 AM.

  6. #6
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    Day 12 - Charlotte Bay
    Game on! Weather was better, new snow, and Andrew McLean joined our group so that fewer people were on the same rope. And we got first zodiac from the ship. The stars had aligned. Got a few action photos, but goal was to keep moving. Ropes slow everything down.

    Up we go, Rich leads the way up just behind McLean:


    2nd on the rope is the worst position:


    One of the Italians:






    Second run we went to lower angled area, but still fun:


    Third run was around the corner and up a chute:


    Did a 4th run up to a high point and then back to the zodiac:




    We were all pretty happy:


    After dinner it was time for the black and white party. Ice Axe paid the bar tab for an hour and there was a mad rush on white Russians and everything else. So the party got going rather fast:


    This couple from Norway got married by the captain:


    The lounge has a video camera going all the time, so you could watch all the action from the room:
    Last edited by 406; 02-23-2018 at 11:19 AM.

  7. #7
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    May 2009
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    Wow, what a trip...moar photos!

  8. #8
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    Day 13 - Admiralty Bay, King George Island

    Also nice weather and really good ski options, but it was our turn to be in one of the last Zodiacs:


    ~100 crab eater seals at the zodiac landing:


    Hey buddy:


    Up we go:


    Nice turns:




    Seth:


    He skis a bit faster than the setting my camera was on, so missed the next turn:


    I like ones with the ocean:


    Lucas from Austria dropping in:


    Me skiing:


    Took the zodiac over to another landing for our second goal, view of the first run:


    Up we go:


    Then the sun came out:


    Awesome run back down, we did the middle chute:


    These guys chilling near the zodiac.


    Had to end the day much earlier than we all wanted, but had to pull anchor and start the trip back. First got to go for a swim:


    Transported this beer from Missoula:


    We stopped at a Polish Science stations. Whale bone version of the bone I broke:


    Adelie penguin:


    Day 14 - Nice day on the Drake.
    Last edited by 406; 02-23-2018 at 11:21 AM.

  9. #9
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    Apr 2007
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    Eastern Block, CO
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    Well that's a helluva a TR....thanks for sharing and happy fucking thanksgiving.

  10. #10
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    Day 15 - "The Real Drake Passage"
    Anenometer broke at 110 knots and peak waves of 16 meters! $$$ shot around 50 sec in:


    Day 16 - Ushuaia, Argentina to EZE to ATL to SAN
    Departed the boat


    Had a few hours before flight to Buenos Aires, so we went to the old prison that was been converted into a museum:


    Turns out our ship had been stuck in the ice in the past:


    Prison cells:


    After that ~20 hours on an airplane and relatively short layovers.

    In summary it was an awesome trip, worth the cost and travel. The amount skiing was a little less than I had hoped( 4-5k ft/day), but still got in lots of good tours and turns. I expected to have 1 weather day, so 1.5 loss wasn't a big shock. Everything on the ship such as the room, food, staff, was outstanding. Scenery and wildlife was amazing. Also lots of cool people and fun to be off line for so many days. Only 1 complaint: I signed up via Ice Axe and I think it would be better to sign up via a guide and to start with a group with similar expectations. Ice Axe has everyone fill out a ski resume, but it seemed that I was initially just placed into a group with an empty spot, not a group with similar experience and fitness. But the guides were very good about swapping people around.

    The End!
    Last edited by 406; 02-23-2018 at 11:27 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    Reno
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    Awesome TR......a trip I would love to do someday!!
    Donjoy to the World!

  12. #12
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    Feb 2004
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    Jaw dropping .... thx for sharing.

  13. #13
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    Golden
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    Please never apologize for posting a trip report like that again. What an amazing experience that trip must have been! Nice choice of beer as well!
    Last edited by m-ruta; 11-28-2014 at 01:57 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    JH/AK/Los Andes
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    Good stuff!
    "The idea wasnt for me, that I would be the only one that would ever do this. My idea was that everybody should be doing this. At the time nobody was, but this was something thats too much fun to pass up." -Briggs
    Quote Originally Posted by LeeLau View Post
    Wear your climbing harness. Attach a big anodized locker to your belay loop so its in prime position to hit your nuts. Double russian Ti icescrews on your side loops positioned for maximal anal rape when you sit down. Then everyone will know your radness
    More stoke, less shit.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    132
    PENGUINS!!!

    And yes, the rest is pretty awesome too
    Last edited by Brecher; 11-28-2014 at 08:20 AM. Reason: Stupidity

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    425
    Nice. Looks like you guys skied some different lines from last year.
    I would also agree that it is probably better to sign up through one of the guides so that you will have a better chance of skiing in a group of skiers with similar abilities and objectives. McClean organized a group last year, although it looks like he didn't this trip.

  17. #17
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    Mar 2006
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    Chamonix/Franconia, NH
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    great TR!

  18. #18
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    Feb 2011
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    Anaconda
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    Tim at Kettlehouse has got to love that picture.

  19. #19
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    Jul 2005
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    Moose, Iowa
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    Did you notice what size engine on the Zodiacs? If I ever go (man I'd love to) I'd sneak a ski rope on and try to bribe them into letting me barefoot backwards behind that thing. I can backwards at probably 30 ish mph depending how fat I am.

    Sweet trip report! Thanks.

  20. #20
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    ^^^Only 40's, maybe if nobody was in the boat...they seemed slow fully loaded.

  21. #21
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    Feb 2009
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    584
    STOKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. #22
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    Oct 2008
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    Up North
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    949
    fuck me that looks amazing. if you don't mind me asking what does a trip like that set someone back?

  23. #23
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    If I remember correctly from the other threads, something like $10-15k?

  24. #24
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    Sep 2005
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    CH
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    Chapeau!!!
    #1 goal this year......stay alive +
    DOWN SKIS

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Vanity Fair
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    Nice. Those Drake crossing do seem like they get interesting rather regularly
    Ich bitte dich nur, weck mich nicht.

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