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Top American Climbers Open Antarctica Routes

A team of six top American climbers are currently exploring Queen Maud Land, a remote part of Antarctica.

Facing challenging conditions, the goal of the month-long expedition is to reach as many summits of the Wolf’s Jaw massif as possible.

As the trip report is prepared by the team, some details have made it out. Including that they climbed 13 summits and established seven new routes. The biggest was the northwest face of Ulvetanna.

Conrad Anker is likely the most experienced climber on the trip. His countless first ascents and bold repeats make him an important member. In 2011, he climbed Shark’s Fin on Meru (6,310 m) in India with Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk.

In 1996/97, Anker visited Antarctica with Jon Krakauer and Alex Lowe. Their trip was featured on the cover of a 1998 National Geographic. In 2016, Anker suffered a heart attack but is back in the game teaching younger climbers the way.

Jimmy Chin reached out to National Geographic about this year’s trip. He talked about Alex Honnold and Cedar Wright having climbed two new routes on granite towers in the Wolf’s Jaw.

Savannah Cummins, Anna Pfaff, Honnold and Wright climbed a new peak and called it Penguin in four pitches. “Cedar led it in adventure style,” said Honnold.

The four then repeated a route called Sky Walk that was reported to have bolts throughout but they only found two.

“We got to the top and had to down-climb the entire thing, versus rappelling it,” said Cummins. “That was a really big day, one of the bigger… The climb was spectacular, one of the coolest I’ve ever done.” Follow along on the trip here.

Honnold said the the route was bigger and more of an undertaking than they expected. “There’s pretty strong winds and its pretty cold… There’s pretty much constant shenanigans here… Cedar and I have climbed three new free routes.”

“Jimmy and Conrad are heading up Ulvetanna tomorrow, so I’m going to go up and shoot photos of them,” said Cummins. The two are working on a new route up the impressive and famous peak.

“Super inspiring here,” said Wright. “Spiky granite peaks coming out of the ice. You can climb barehanded in the sun at times, but in a matter of minutes the wind chill factor is insane.

“Alex and I have been using a lot of Yosemite-style speed climbing tactics. Every single layer matters out here. I’ve really fallen in love with it here.”

Click to watch clip below. More details to come.

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