On January 16, 2017, Rick Thurmer, accompanied by ALE guides Maria “Pachi” Paz Ibarra, Victor Saunders, Seth Timpano and Todd Tumolo, made the sixth ascent of Mount Tyree, the second highest mountain in Antarctica at 15,919 ft (4852 m).
The team climbed the peak via the Grand Couloir, which ascends the lower section of the northeast ridge, before traversing into the upper couloir on the northeast face. The route was first climbed by Antoine de Choudens and Antoine Cayrol in November 1997 and has been used for all subsequent ascents of Tyree. It took them 13 hours to climb to the summit, from a camp on the lower part of the northeast ridge, and 12 hours to descend via a mixture of down-climbing and rappelling.
The hard ice traversing into the couloir and in the couloir itself made for sustained front-pointing and was the overall crux of the route. Although the temperatures fell below -30°F (-34°C) for much of the descent, the lack of any wind made conditions tolerable and all the team returned safely to their base camp on the Patton Glacier without any cold injury.
The team reported that ‘it was a spectacular climb and truly special’. This ALE guided team made several notable firsts: first guided ascent; first ascent by a woman; oldest ascent (66), second oldest ascent (61), and the largest group to summit (5). ALE offers Rick and the guides our sincerest congratulations on a successful climb done in great style.