The team crossed the border into Italy and headed up the southern side of the Mont Blanc massif in preparation for the unsupported attempt to Antarctica’s highest peak in January.
The terrain and effects of altitude tested them all fully, and despite the clear blue skies and bright sunshine, the temperature dropped significantly as the team climbed higher.
Knots, rope work, rehearsals and the considerable distance covered in crampons provided them with the opportunity to refine their skills in many layers of kit and gloves which will be vital, as the brutally low temperatures on Mt. Vinson means any exposed, unprotected skin will develop frostbite in minutes, potentially ending the expedition.
John Barry, former Royal Marine Captain and highly experienced mountaineer, coached the team in aspects of crevasse rescue, ice axe arrest, crampon technique, and rope travel which is essential to mitigate the risk of falling on steep, hard snow or ending up in a crevasse.
It is crucial that the team can work quickly and efficiently in the extreme and hostile environment of the Antarctic, and are in a strong physical condition to cope with many days carrying and hauling heavy loads at altitude.