The Eagle Ski Club, with leader Phil Wickens, organised an expedition to the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula in January 2012 to explore, climb and ski. The only way to get there is by boat, most commonly a sailing boat from Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, and the team of eight joined the yacht Spirit of Sydney skippered by Cath Hew and Darrel Day, a pair of remarkable Australian sailors, climbers, skiers, chefs, boat builders, comedians and story tellers. The three to four day crossing of the notoriously stormy Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica took its toll on many of us but the desire to be allowed to die (of seasickness) soon dissipated as the mountains of the Peninsula hove into sight.
The return trip avoided most of the 'Drake shake' until Cape Horn, which gave us a little taste of what it can offer the sailor. For me, as a sailor myself, seeing the lighthouse on Cape Horn coming into view in the early morning gloom of a windswept Southern Ocean as we crashed our way North to find shelter in Chile was a fitting end to the trip.
We enjoyed generally moderate temperatures, mixed weather but with some long settled clear spells and generally good snow conditions from powder to crust. The boundless possibilities for skiing, exploring and climbing, wildlife viewing and kayaking in an area where very few people ever get to go means you somehow know that you need to go back.
A full report can be found in PDF format here: philwickens.co.uk
PHOTOS: Ski Antarctica!