Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Expedition to Traverse Antarctic Plateau Planned for 2018

A team of Antarctic explorers is in the process of planning an ambitious exception to the frozen continent that will take them into a remote and largely unexplored region fraught with challenges. ExWeb is reporting that Phil WIckens, Vincent Colliard, and Luc Delriviere will lead a team into the an area known as the Narrow Plateau on the Antarctic Peninsula, where they'll ski along a series of mountains and ridges that are seldom visited by man.

According to the article, the group will travel across a section of the Antarctic that consists of several connected plateaus. They'll begin on the Detroit Plateau, then proceed on to Herbert Plateau, Foster Plateau, Forbidden Plateau, and finally Bruce Plateau. While on the traverse they'll spend most of their time at alludes of 1500 - 1750 meters (4921 - 5741 ft.) as the shuffle along sections that range from several hundred meters across down to just a few meters. They'll also top out on several mountains along the way as well, with views of the nearby Gerlache Strait and Weddell Sea.

Exploring this region on skis has never been done before, and as such it requires quite a bit of planning and preparation. Because of this, the expedition isn't set to launch until the 2018-2019 Antarctic season. Right now, the group is tentatively planning on starting on December 28 of next year with a projected end date of February 8, 2019.

Unlike most expeditions to the Antarctic, the members of this squad won't be flying to Union Glacier either. Instead, they'll gather in Ushuaia, Argentina and board a specially prepared Antarctic yacht called the Icebird. They'll spend approximately three days sailing across the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula, where the journey will truly get underway. Once there, they'll have a full month out on the ice as they traverse the Narrow Plateau. And when they're finished, they'll sail back to Ushuaia.

The start of the expedition is still more than a year and a half away, so hopefully we'll hear more about their plans in the coming months. As usual, I'll be watching the Antarctic season unfold and will share more details as we get them. Sounds like an interesting project in a part of the Antarctic that we seldom hear anyone visiting.

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