A winter in Antarctica is an incredible and magical experience… but you do have a lot of time to start planning the next adventure. We have spent the last year and a half at Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula and, for months when it was dark and the weather too bad to venture outside we poured over travel books in the library or waited for the internet to slowly load pictures of mountains in countries we’d only vaguely heard of.
We wanted a big adventure - we wanted to go to places we’d never been and we wanted to climb some beautiful mountains when we got there. So we decided to head east, to drive out to Central Asia and explore the Pamirs, the Tien Shan and the Altai Mountains.
We are planning to leave in May and take 5 months to drive as far as Mongolia and return back through Siberia. We are slowly ticking off our to do list, to the point where there isn’t much we can do now until we get back to ‘the real world’ in just a couple of weeks time. First on the list then is to find a suitable vehicle – we’re looking for a reliable 4x4 that will happily take us over the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan and not fall apart when the roads run out in Mongolia.
The main mountaineering objective is to attempt Khan Tengri – widely considered as one of the most beautiful mountains in the world - it lies on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan and soars to 7010m. We are also planning to explore the Mongolian Altai Mountains for a few weeks, here there are a number of peaks around 4000m, which we plan to attempt.
For now though, the R.R.S. Ernest Shackleton is here and tomorrow we’ll be leaving Rothera and heading north up the Antarctic Peninsula, across the Drake Passage and back to civilisation in the Falkland Islands!