/ GMHM in Antarctica

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Damo on 08 Feb 2018

The guys from the Groupe Militaire d'Haute Montagne (French soldiers paid to climb cool stuff all around the world!) are home from another Antarctic trip.

This time they visited the Pirrit Hills, a small but steep range a couple of hundred kilometres south of the ALE base at Union Glacier. The Pirrits are named after a Scottish climber who worked in Antarctica in the 1960s, and are 'just off to the side' of the regular sledging route from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole.

The French only had about 10 days in the range, but climbed new routes on the east pillar of Mt Turcotte (check out that rock!), and ice couloirs on Mt Tidd and Mt Goodwin. Hammered by high winds and running out of time, they unsuccessfully attempted the incredible north pillar of Mt Tidd, then used those winds to kite back to Union Glacier and the ALE base.

A couple of the peaks in the Pirrit Hills had been climbed years ago, by scientists working in the area, but this was the first time climbers had gone there to climb. Using the prevailing winds to kite back to base showed the potential for this technique for future expeditions, as Leo Houlding's Spectre expeditions did also.

There was a trilogy of interesting mountaineering expeditions to inland Antarctica this year - the Spectre Expedition, the North Face team in Queen Maud Land, and the GMHM in the Pirrit Hills. Great to see mountaineering in Antarctica still developing!

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