Australian team succeeds in Antarctic climb


dpa German Press Agency
Published: Tuesday January 2, 2007


Sydney- From sea to sky, a four-man Australian team has
reached the summit of Antarctica's highest peak, Mount Vinson,
becoming the first climbers ever to conquer the 4,900-metre-high
summit after trekking from sea level, Australian news reports said
Tuesday.
The team, led by Adelaide mountaineer Duncan Chessell, 36, reached
the summit after a month-long 400 kilometre trek dragging all their
own supplies in 60 kilogram sleds across the ice.

"We are all exhausted but exhilarated," Chessell said by satellite
phone after the climb.

"The view, standing alone on the tallest part of the Antarctic,
was incredible - you could see almost to the South Pole.

"To stand there and see the hundreds of kilometres we had trekked
from the sea, across land never before crossed by people, was
humbling."

The push to the top involved a 1200m vertical climb, about 8km of
climbing in total, mainly up a very long glacial slope and took seven
hours after leaving the high base camp.

Temperatures at the summit fell to minus 35 Celsius.

They stored most of their gear at the base of Mt Vinson and after
descending the mountain intend to fly out to South America and then
Australia.

Though other climbers, including Australians, have reached the
summit of Mt Vinson, none have done so after a trek from sea level.

© 2006 - dpa German Press Agency