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Watch Conrad Anker and Jon Krakauer’s 2001 Antarctica Expedition

A journey to the highest point in Antarctica conjures up images of the early days of polar exploration. Their goal: the unclimbed east face of Vinson Massif

In January 2001, Jon Krakauer, Conrad Anker and six other climbers travelled to Antarctica for the unclimbed east face of the Vinson Massif. Their route covered 70 kilometres of skiing to the 1,000-metre face. Anker had visited the area in 1997 when he climbed Mount Tyree with Alex Lowe from the Patton Glacier.

“Antarctica has this mythic weight,” said Krakauer. “It resides in the collective unconscious of so many people, and it makes this huge impact, just like outer space. It’s like going to the moon.”

The team not only made the first ascent from the east side but also performed scientific research into snow accumulation at different elevations as well as taking the first ground-based GPS reading from the summit. The GPS reading gave the elevation of the highest point in Antarctica as 4,900 m (16,077 ft), eclipsing the earlier established heights recorded in 1959 and 1979.

The team included: Anker, Krakauer, Dave Hahn, Dan Stone, Liesl Clark, John Armstrong and Rob Raker. Mountain of Ice gives a glimpse into what it’s like when decisions have to be made on a three-week expedition.

Mountain of Ice