King George Island, South Shetlands, Nov. 16, 2011
After 4 days along the Antarctic Peninsula in the 64-65 degree south range we sailed overnight back to the South Shetland
Islands around latitude 62 south. Weather was still very foggy, and when the ship sailed into Admiralty Bay Doug Stoup and
other guides who had been there in 2009 were disappointed to see previously skied couloirs stripped nearly bare of snow. Thus
they decided to have quick morning ski of no more than 1 ½ hours, then move the ship midday to look for a better spot.
For this short trip I’m out with Kim and the same group as yesterday. Here’s the landing.
We skin up 600 feet to the edge of some rocks where the wind is gusting.
We had noticed an icy subsurface in exposed areas on the way up, but the wind was blowing snow into the area. Any Mammoth skier knows how to deal with this. There was enough blown in snow to make all my turns in soft wind sift, so it was a very enjoyable though short run.
Farther down we see some skiers in a different line.
After lunch it’s still foggy and quite a few people stay on the ship. So groups are mixed up and Gordon, Ita, Liz and I go out with C. J. Ware. At this landing we see a Weddell seal.
Of course we have to wear life jackets at all times on the Zodiacs, so they are left in bags on the beach while we ski. A couple of penguins are checking those out here.
Here are some possible ski objectives, close by but steep.
C. J. was on the 2009 cruise so he knows to skin around the gradual backside of these peaks, then up a ridgeline to the top.
We get there before another group (including Brian and Terry from the Shasta trip) who bootpacked one of the steeper lines with crampons and ice axes.
They determined that the steep lines were too icy to ski safely. Looking back down the ridgeline we skinned.
A couple of groups skied the steep line to the right of the peak in the distance.
C.J. and I near the top.
Liz on our summit
We skied back down the ridgeline, then to the right toward the bay. Terry here.
Lower down here’s Jim from Boise, who skis a lot of the powder backcountry around Brundage.
The snow was heavy powder over an icy base that became more exposed with each group skiing it. Liz coming down here.
I could see there was a long traverse back to our landing site, so I stayed high to get there. I took my skis off and wandered around checking out the penguins. Here are 2 Adelies and 2 chinstraps.
Liz deliberately skied directly to the beach because she wanted to walk along the gravel and inspect the various icebergs stranded there.
Afternoon vertical 680 feet, 1,280 for the day.
This was our last night in sheltered Antarctic waters, so they held the "Black and White Party" even though we had one more ski day. Here Karyn Stanley announces and Doug Stoup congratulates Liz for the "Most Improved Award."