Spectre Base Camp
Date = 4/12/2017
Day 14 (Expedition) – Day 20 (Antarctica)
Location = Spectre Base Camp
Coordinates – 86 03.376’S, 150 25.400’W
Altitude = 1263m
Temperature = -10C
Wind speed / direction = 0 – 10knots
Windchill = -10C
Distance travelled = 3.2km
Distance remaining = 1736km
We are in the most spectacular base camp, encompassed in the cirque of the Spectre, surrounded by the Organ Pipe peaks in the Gothic mountains. Indeed it is a Cathedral created by nature to humble those few, whose pilgrimage brings them this far.
Beneath an almost virgin granite massif; comparable in perfection to the Fitzroy group in Patagonia, some impressive lines lie in wait but we must be careful with our selection and strategy.
We are already very committed and we lie in the safest place for 1000kms around in our sturdy, well equipped base camp. As we venture up in to the vertical realm we enter another level of commitment. The snow couloirs flanking each side of the Spectre, that Mark thought might be skiable, and we all thought would be an easy descent, are in fact 70 degree blue ice. I don’t think we have enough ice screws to ascend them and it would be ice thread rappels the whole way if used as a descent route, not ideal.
Tomorrow we will circumnavigate the mountain to inspect the descent options on the rear, northerly aspect, which look far better.
We have a limited climbing rack and limited time and will not be moving quickly, climbing as a 3 with all that we need to survive out here.
The weather is incredibly calm but dense high cloud has subdued yesterday’s euphoric sun.
It is wonderful to be in the place that I have dreamt of reaching for so long. We have worked hard and well as a team to get this far. Already we have completed more than one ambition. We will think carefully before choosing our next.