Yesterday was one of the more interesting days of my life. We were blessed with some amazing skiing in one of the wildest places I have ever seen. When we pulled up to Wiencke Island we were surrounded on all sides by big gnarly looking mountains. Knowing that the terrain was heavily glaciated and super sketchy we set out for what looked like one of the more mellow ramps we could find. The sun was blazing and everyone was super pumped to get out and ski the fantastic corn.
After a few miles of skinning we had reached the foot of the couloir and began to prep our ice axe’s and crampons for the ascent. Then shit hit the fan. Details started coming in over the crackling of our radios. Another group was making their way up to their objective when one of the skiers punched through a snow bridge and fell deep inside a crevasse of the glacier. All hands were called to assist in the rescue attempt which meant that we needed to sit tight as our guides scrambled to assist the fallen skier.
Feeling quite safe with our location we decided to set up a few simple shots on the mellow ramp we had just climbed. Once we locked down the shot I made my way uphill slightly to get a better angle on the action. The Warren Miller film crew were hanging out just feet from where I was heading so I skinned up and said hello to the guys. Taking off my skis, I turned and started walking ten feet or so to a little knob above. I was planning on setting up a tripod when poof, the snow gave away under my feet and I began to fall into the deepest, darkest crevasse I have ever seen in my life. Before I knew what had happened I came to a stop. Luckily I had a firm grip on my skis which I was dragging along with me. The skis had bridged the gap and allowed me to pull myself back up to safety. Very spooky.
On this trip are some of the best mountain guides in the world. Some of our guides have over 20 years experience of heli guiding in AK, while others are Himalayan mountain climbers with multiple Everest summits. In both cases they all agree that the terrain down here in Antarctica is some of, if not the most, extreme terrain anywhere in the world.
Once we got back to the ship we were informed that the skier in the other group had fallen 30 feet into a crevasse and suffered a broken leg. We are now making a day long journey to the Shetland Islands to where the closest medical facility and airstrip is located.
– Tim Konrad