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Ulvetanna, Antarctica: Leo Houlding and team summit unclimbed route

Posted: Jan 24, 2013 01:33 pm EST

(Newsdesk) Leo Houlding and his team reported that they have successfully summited "the otherworldly peak", Ulvetanna in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica.

The team set off in December to make an attempt on an unclimbed route of the 1,300m peak. They celebrated Christmas and New Year at Base Camp before heading to the wall for 10 days climbing with the constant threat of bad weather.

Leo described the climb before setting off, “Since I first heard of this otherworldly peak more than a decade ago I have dreamed of amassing the skill, strength and support necessary to reach this most elusive mountain. Ulvetanna presents me and my team with a truly formidable challenge, which is exactly what draws us to it."

0,5 meter wide ridge

In a previous dispatch on January 16th David Reeves reported the men hauling and carrying "absolutely massive loads" up the mountain "stumbling with the occasional face planting under the weight of the bag and the unstable snow."

The route up to the base of the wall was pretty steep, he said. "Most of the loads were carried on their backs one by one up the rope. Took a while for all 5 of them to get up. Next were the haul bags (or Sheep Smugglers as I like to call them.) they were pulled up the slope with a pulley system with both Jason and Chris acting as counterweight, running up and down the hill in short bursts, slowly edging the kit up the slope."

Reeves was filming the team on the rock face. "Throughout the day I heard them shouting to each other, spread hundreds of meters apart along the rock face. The occasional ”ROCK” being shouted out (that is when you don’t look up in case you get a face full of rock)."

"Around 18h30 I radioed in to tell the boys the wind had picked up loads and to expect high winds on the ridge. (The ridge is only some 0,5m wide so wind is massively influential on the traverse) Al replied and said he had just arrived on the ridge and can confirm the stronger wind. His tone didn’t sound massively enthusiastic."

Next radio contact:
AL: I amon ledand putyF ooed.
Stanley: Can you repeat, are you on the ridge or the ledge? Over
AL: I am on the Ledge, L, E, D, G, E over.
Stanley: OK, we are one pitch from the ridge with the haul bags! Over.
AL: I wait here. I pretty F*&%cked!! (Spoken in a loud, slurred and fluctuating voice)

"Wouldn’t expect anything less from someone who has just jugged up 500m of cliff face."

They only finished hauling in the early hours of this morning and after setting up portaledges and making dinner, everyone got to bed around 4am, David said on January 16th. "They are all now be camped at the base of the headwall on the Ledge that has acquired the name The Plateau of Great Expectations."

Ulvetanna, or "The Wolf's Tooth", is located at 71° 51’ 0” South, 008° 20’ 0” East in the Fenriskjeften Mountain, Drygalski Mountain range.

Leo Holding and his team will attempt a new route on the north-east ridge. This ridge extends for 2,000m, presenting 1,300m of vertical ascent. The expedition is expected to last 50 days; start December 16th and return February 2nd, 2013. They fly to Antarctica from Cape Town, South Africa.

Holding is reportedly also planning to BASE jump from the summit.

Berghaus Team: Leo Houlding (Expedition leader/lead climber), Alastair Lee (Film director/ photographer/ cameraman); Sean ‘Stanley’ Leary (Lead climber); Jason Pickles (Climber); David Reeves (Cameraman/grip) and Chris Rabone (Base camp manager/support climber).

The team flew from Novo Base to their Base Camp (dubbed Mavericks) at the foot of Ulvetanna on December 22nd, 2012.

Gateway port Cape Town, South Africa:
To ALCI base camp at Novolazarevskaya / Novo
(70° 46’37”S, 011° 49’26”E).

Find all ongoing expeditions in ExWeb's list of expeditions and their dispatches in the feeds on this main page.


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Berghaus / Leo Houlding Ulvetanna blog


"Most of the loads where carried on their backs one by one up the rope.Next were the haul bags, they were pulled up the slope with a pulley system."
Image by Alastair Lee courtesy Berghaus / Alastair Lee, SOURCE

Image by Alastair Lee courtesy (c)Berghaus/Alastair Lee, SOURCE

courtesy Berghaus, SOURCE