11 o’clock sunset over the Antarctic Peninsula.
Everyone knows that traveling in the mountains is a dangerous activity, add in glaciers and the absolute remoteness of Antarctica, and even the smallest accident can turn into a life threatening scenario. So before I go any further, I must give a huge shout out to the IceAxe Expeditions guide staff for how they handled yesterday’s events.
Unfortunately, while many people were out having the time of their lives and experiencing bliss in one of the most beautiful places in the world, one of the clients was in a very serious situation. While ascending a steep slope on skis and unroped, a client fell into a deep crevasse and broke his leg. The chatter on the radios immediately started the rescue operations and within a couple hours, the patient was extricated, packaged and had been transported 1000′ down a very steep slope and back to the Clipper Adventure to an awaiting doctor for assessment.
Penguins in front of the Clipper Adventurer. Photo Kellie Okonek.
It was determined that his injuries were serious enough to warrant an immediate evacuation, and since it is impossible for any type of helicopter to reach our location, it was imperative the patient to be brought to the closest landing strip at King George Island, about an 18 hour journey by boat. When we arrived, a plane was waiting to transport the patient to South America and further on to the United States. So, from the time the accident happened, and within 48 hours, the injured party would be in the hands of professional care in the hospital of his choice. Pretty impressive considering we are down here at the bottom of the world.
Obviously, our original itinerary is now thrown out the window and it would be easy to be upset at the whole situation. BUT, at times like this, one must take a deep breathe, put themselves in the patient’s shoes and realize that really…it could have been anyone of us at the bottom of that crevasse. And honestly, the IceAxe crew, pros to say the least, couldn’t have handled it any better and I’m sure we will still have some amazing skiing over the next few days.
Good job steve. It def.could have been anyone and at least ur still there his dream is over to bad. But he is lucky to survive that. Keep rocking and make the most o what u have left.
PS. This raises a question? Did you buy or did you consider buying some type of insurance plan for this trip. Like a gap insurance or X insurance that would cover any unforeseen incidents on a trip like this like: a life flight from the bottom of the world? Or is there anything even available. If you think of the expense to pull some one of the Grand, who know what this one must have cost? Just wondering nothing more. I think it you could defiantly say its high risk. 🙂
un roped on the climb? can’t wait for the full story. thanks for the updates. keep it real and watch out for the blue holes!
derek…evac insurance was mandatory for this trip…as you can imagine what it would cost to get hauled out from the bottom of the world for an injury. i included trip cancellation insurance as well…and bought a plan for the whole year since i’m going to aconcagua after this. if i recall…it was about $400.
hende…i’m sure you will find out the whole story…as i think you know the guide quite well.
bummer for broken leg guy. but at least he was dealt with in an efficient manner. This event also sheds a bit of light on the `unfortunate reality` of the entire ship being dependent on the health of each cruiser…but for the price of the trip in comparision to a full private outing it seems a fair trade. and i am pretty sure everyone is still jealous.
As for evac insurance, REGA is the way to go, 30 francs per year for global rescue and repatriation service / insurance, based out of Switzerland. They have three ambulance jets and 13 Helis and do most of the heavy Alpine rescue work in the Alps. Even if you just spend a month bumming around the Alps it makes sense to have, much less Antarctica, Namibia, or whatever else you can dream of…