2010 topped the list of ‘Firsts’, even for ALE. Our first big news was the move from our long-time base at Patriot Hills to start the season at a new location on Union Glacier. The new camp setting is spectacular and our new, specially adapted passenger vans have opened up possibilities for scenic tours and exploring the local area. Patriot Hills remains our secondary runway.
ALE guides and guests made first ascents and climbed new routes on many local peaks including Mount Rossman, Mount Dolence and the Elephant Head. And there’s still more to be done!
ALE led the first private expedition to Mount Sidley – Antarctica’s highest volcano and one of the Seven Volcanic summits. The peak features an enormous caldera and fabulous “snow mushrooms” along the crater rim. We plan to return in 2011 to climb other routes.
Two expeditions challenged traditional ideas about Antarctic travel, with new and innovative technology. The Moon-Regan Transantarctic Expedition completed the first there and back crossing of Antarctica and were the first to drive a bio-inspired ice vehicle to the South Pole. The Korean-Green Expedition overcame significant challenges to be the first to drive to the South Pole with a solar-powered snowmachine.
Science enthusiasts from Travelquest Tours were the first to use specially developed detectors to search for meteorites on Union Glacier. Three meteorites were catalogued and left in place, per Antarctic regulations.
We don’t have space to list all the other amazing adventures and details of the season – suffice to say that there are many ‘Firsts’ waiting to be uncovered and we can’t wait for next season!