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Eleven First Ascents in Antarctica

Paul Koller and Karl Pichler
atop Peak Styria (2170m) in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. The two Austrians, along with leader Christoph Hoebenreich, summited what they believe to be 11 virgin peaks, including this one, in November 2009. [Photo] Christoph Hoebenreich

Over three weeks in November and December of 2009, Austrians Christoph Hobenreich, Paul Koller and Karl Pichler explored three areas east of the Ulvetanna Group–Holtedahlfjella, Kurzefjella and Conradfjella–in Antarctica’s Queen Maud Land. The trio summited 15 peaks and nunataks, including the already-established Tungespissen (2277m), Mundlauga (2455m) and Sandneshatten (2280 m); they believe 11 of their climbs were first ascents.

The most notable they named Tiroler Spitze (2201m, 71S 52’15.8″, 8E 55’00.6″), Austrian Peak (2177m, 71S 52’27.9″, 8E 54’50.6″), Peak Alexey Turchin (2232m, 71S 51’19.8″, 9E 00’12.7″), Kamelbuckel (2184m, 71S 50’28.1″, 9E 00’01.5″), Mount Galileo (71S 55’23.6″, 9E 01’38.8″) and Peak of Silent Solitude (2550m, 71S 54’59.2″, 9E 03’28.1″). Aside from Tiroler Spitze, which required easy fifth-class climbing, the team reached the new summits by foot or on skis.

The trip marked Hobenreich’s eleventh expedition to the polar regions and his fourth to Antarctica. He plans to lead a South Georgia ski-crossing this autumn.

Sources: Christoph Hobenreich,,

Koller finds friction on Sandneshatten (2280m), Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. [Photo] Christoph Hoebenreich