National Geographic : 1967 Jun
Loading up: The motor to boggan hauls remaining sup plies and rock samples to a C-130. Giant skis supple ment conventional landing gear on the plane. An Antarc tic rarity-a fresh snowfall -made take-off difficult. Taxiing back and forth, the pilot packed the snow. Then, firing JATO bottles, he finally lifted from the ice. Happy conquerors, wear ing beards and snow tans, return to McMurdo. From left, standing: John Evans, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Richard W. Wahlstrom, Ed monds, Washington; Nicho las B. Clinch, Pasadena, California; Barry Corbet, Jackson, Wyoming; Peter K. Schoening,Seattle, Washing ton; kneeling: Charles D. Hollister, Falmouth, Massa chusetts; Samuel C. Silver stein, New York City; Brian S. Marts, Seattle; William E. Long, Anchorage, Alaska; Eiichi Fukushima, Seattle. Gardner and reconnoiter a route between Gardner and Tyree. The slope down from Gardner to the ridge joining it to Tyree was the steepest yet encountered. Brian and John, in 20-below zero cold, found much of it to be solid ice. They reported this way "not impossible, but a darn poor choice." At 1:30 a.m. on New Year's Day, Pete, Sam and I, snug in our sleeping bags at Camp I, were casually discussing the hazards of mountaineering. We had just agreed how lucky we were that light snowfall and low temperatures kept falling rock and avalanches from being much of a threat in the Senti nel Range. Overhead, all at once, we heard the whir of a flying rock pass over the tent. A small fragment slapped the side. "That's interesting," said Pete quietly. The three of us got up, lined up our packs on the outside wall of the tent, the better to protect our heads, and returned to our sleeping bags. A storm raged on New Year's Day, and everyone stayed holed up in the tents. Next afternoon, when Pete, Sam, and I arrived at Camp II, Barry and John had just set out on their fruitless attempt to find a better route to the Gardner-Tyree col. Assault Begins by the Ridge Route When Barry and John returned to report that their route did not go, we suspected that we had no alternative but that "darn poor choice"-to try for the col by way of Mount Gardner. It was that or give up. At noon next day Barry and John struck out-two men burdened with coils of all the fixed rope we had at Camp II. From the Gardner summit they would establish a route down to the knife-edge Tyree col. A few hours later, Bill, Eiichi, Sam, and Charley followed the other two. They carried gear and supplies to set up Camp III in the col-one tent, stove, fuel, and food. Then the support party retreated to Camp II on the Gardner plateau. From here on, it would be up to Barry and John. January 4th brought clouds and wind-no day for the as sault that lay ahead. Barry and John lay in their tent all day. The wind slackened, and on the fifth the two bearded climb ers, linked together by a 160-foot rope, set out on their first attempt on Tyree from the col. For the first time they had to make heavy use of mountaineering hardware-pitons and carabiners, roughly equivalent to rock spikes and rope clips. The 6 p.m. radio contact brought gloomy news. Barry and John had reached the top of the first tower on the ridge. They couldn't get down the far side. They had turned back. I lay awake at Camp I, mulling over our predicament. How many days would it take to try a drastic new solution-to climb over the range by the Shinn-Epperly col and hike around to the eastern side of the range? Eight days? Ten? Too many. We were scheduled for pickup on January 15th. No-if Barry and John could not climb Tyree from Camp III, we simply would not get up. We had no further choice. Early on January 6th John and Barry left Camp III for what had to be their final attempt on Tyree. Listen to John Evans tell about the struggle for the top. "By dropping down steep snow on the east flank of the moun tain," John later told us, "we were able to bypass the tower on the ridge that had stopped us before. Then we got back on the crest by a steep couloir.