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Alex Honnold Climbs Likely New Route in Antarctica

He shared his appreciation for the continent's third highest peak and made a rare ascent of a rocky summit

Photo by: Esteban “Topo” Mena.

Alex Honnold has, for the time being, shifted from difficult technical rock climbs to remote mountain routes in faraway places. Over the past few weeks, he’s been busy climbing classic lines near the south pole.

He broke the news that he was mountaineering on Antarctica by sharing that he climbed the continent’s highest peak – Mount Vinson. In a tweet, he said he “felt shockingly bad” from the altitude. He’s climbing with Esteban “Topo” Mena.

Honnold and Topo went on to climb two other Antarctic peaks, with one being Mount Shinn (4,661 m), which stands as the continent’s third highest mountain. “Overall, I thought that Shinn was a much cooler summit than Vinson, with much more interesting climbing,” said Honnold. “It’s too bad that it’s not a little bit taller — it feels a little neglected as a third tallest peak. Everyone’s there to climb the biggest one.”

After Shinn, Honnold and Topo made the “likely” second ascent of Mount Dolence, a 1,950-metre peak, up the previously unclimbed east ridge. It required a 20-kilometre trip and a long climb up to 5.5. The first ascent of Dolence was via the west ridge in 2011 by a Swiss team. A few years later, mountain guides on a day off attempted the then unclimbed east ridge, but had to bail – read about their attempt here.

A few weeks ago, Honnold said that he was dabbling in “mountaineering to learn a bit about altitude.” We wondered if he’s training for something bigger, possibly in the Himalaya. His trip to Antarctica was a success and he’s leaving with three summits and a possible new route to his name.

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Lead photo: Esteban “Topo” Mena.