e-book THE STORIED ICE Exploration, Discovery, and Adventure in Antarcticas Peninsula Region

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Skip to main content. Boothe , Hardcover Be the first to write a review. About this product. Stock photo. Pre-owned: lowest price The lowest-priced item that has been used or worn previously. Used book in good condition. Shows typical wear. Quick shipping. Satisfaction guaranteed! See details. Buy It Now. Add to cart. Boothe , Hardcover. Be the first to write a review About this product. This part of the world, by far the most visited portion of the south polar regions, is not only a place of staggering scenic beauty and amazing wildlife, but also a locale with a long and fascinating human history.

All this is woven together into a coherent whole, placing the individually exciting tales in a historical context that breathes new life into even the best known of them. The Storied Ice is unique in the rich literature on Antarctica, the only modern comprehensive Antarctic history work that both focuses specifically on the historically exciting Antarctic Peninsula and tells its complete story.

In effect, this region is the old British territory of the Falkland Islands Dependencies, but the author Joan Boothe's rationale is that it is the area covered by the cruise ships sailing out of Ushuaia. It is also the part of the Antarctic richest in history. She admits, quite reasonably, that she can cover only highlights. This is all to the good. I would rather read little-known details of the major expeditions and explorations, with all their excitements and achievements, than have to plough through a comprehensive but dull catalogue.


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The story starts with the much-disputed visit of Hong Bao's junks to the South Shetlands in about and proceeds through William Smith's sighting of and subsequent landing on the South Shetland Islands, the ensuing sealers' invasion and the 'fly-by' expeditions of Bellingshausen, Dumont d'Urville, Wilkes and James Clark Ross. The last is a difficult section to cover comprehensively because there are so many expeditions and so much politics.

It's more current affairs than history! South Georgians would like more on the all-important fisheries and their regulation. The text, and accompanying reference list and notes, show that Joan Boothe is extremely well-read and I envy the time she has spent foraging in obscure corners of Antarctic literature.

I shall make an effort to find some of the writings that I was not aware of!

A problem, however, for anyone writing a general history is deciding the veracity of previous accounts. History is full of pitfalls. Original sources may differ when describing the same event Shackleton even contradicts himself! The story of the wreck of Endurance and the rescue of the crew has been told many times and elaborations creep into them. Boothe has accepted that the first people Shackleton, Crean and Worsley meet at Stromness were 'two small girls' even though she notes that Shackleton described them as 'boys'. Worsley describes them as 'lads of 18 or 19', and there is no reason to doubt either man.

These are small quibbles that every author falls prey to and should not distract from the overall value of the book. A cruise ship lecturer who had an early draft used it as an 'invaluable and concise reference'. So shall I! It has pages and approximately black and white illustrations and over 30 maps. This particular cat being that we think ours is the first ascent of the mountain, which at m is the second highest summit on the Island.


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However Christian is thought to have got high on the mountain but not to the summit on his bold and determined solo effort. I have to emphasise that I still have to confirm this. So, on to the gory details of how Richard Spillett and I faired in our derring-do.

Antarctic Book Notes

Two years ago we had skied from the beach but there was much less snow this year. The first day was spent thinning out our loads to two heavy packs apiece which were carried up to on to the glacier to the point where we could start using the sledges. The next day we commenced our approach proper. Everything as hard ice with all crevasses visible and open. It became a very torturous and slow process navigating the sledges through the labyrinth.

We donned the rope in case of suspect snow bridges and sped on, happy to be using the skis at last. As we skinned up out of the bowl my binding came off three times in quick succession. The back half of my sole unit had come completely unstuck and was uselessly flapping around. This could scupper the entire expedition. My brain started racing; a spare pair of boots under the forward bunk on the boat! A couple of frantic calls on our Sat Phone and the boots were on their way.

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A lash-up with a prussic loop had made a surprisingly robust crampon attachment to my boot. This was holding the whole caboodle together, perhaps good enough to climb on? But if it all came apart on an exposed ridge it would be a nightmare scenario. So back down, taking a more circuitous route avoiding any soft snow and bridged crevasses. More hidden ledge systems and through passages were discovered as I descended. Everything went smoothly and I was back at the beach by mid-day. I had a quick refuel on some previously abandoned chocolate before setting off once more.

I was back at boot camp by early afternoon. I was racing to beat the advancing fog to the lip of the glacier, but in the end had to stop to deal with the inevitable blisters that were developing. It was good to be back. Next day we made an early start pulling sledges once again with crampons. We found a way through a lateral moraine that led to the toe of the ridge extending down northwards from Sheridan Peak.

Cruises To Antarctica

There is then a steep climb, just on the limit of what is possible with skins. We were soon over the lip and on to the third section of the Nordenskjold, a vast broad snow covered valley leading up alongside the western slopes of Sheridan Peak. A truly enormous wind scoop forms a moat adjoining this. We gave the dizzying drop into the wind scoop a very wide birth.

Roped up again we marvelled at how skis and sledges crossed crevasse after crevasse without any breaking through, even in hot soft conditions. I knew from previous experience that terrain like this would be murderous if we were only on foot. By early afternoon we were near to our high camp from two years previously. This time we camped out on the glacier flat away from the avalanche danger and snow dumps that had done for us on that occasion. The next morning we loaded rucksacks and climbed the long steep snowfield that led to the upper stage of the Nordenskjold Glacier. It by-passed a long and heavily crevassed ice fall to the NW.

It took us two carries to get all the gear up. I trailed an empty sledge during the first carry. We had wet snow and very poor visibility all day. We reached the shoulder navigating by memory from two years ago. Returning to locate the last load was a very real test of Richards GPS skills.

He navigated us right back to the dump in a complete white out. Odd breaks enabled me to remember the lay of the land.

As we finally pulled on to the last flat a brief clearing enabled us to get our bearings and choose a good spot for a rest day. We got out of bed at 2am on the 26th, getting away by around 4. The right hand side of the North face is threatened by regular serac falls. But by skirting the rocks on the left of the face you can avoid these. A convenient spindrift avalanche cone bridged the bergschrund and we were on to the face.

We moved together heading up and right, aiming for the foot of a steep gully that broke through the rocks. The bottom part is the steepest.

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On this kind of terrain its essential to have a clear instinct for every crumbling step. As we emerged from the gully it was a relief to find the ice was slightly softer than before. Now we made quick progress. We crossed various rubble shoots and broken terrain. At last we reached the crest of the east ridge. The rock is hilariously rotten.