More Than Peak Bagging
One thing you’ll note is Damien has written two immensely detailed books on Antarctica, and published two topographical maps. For this, Damien is quite unlike other mountaineers. As if climbing in sub-zero temperatures wasn’t challenging enough already, he seems to make it every expedition just that little be harder for himself! So I asked him, why he feels the need to document?
It turns out Damien’s background is quite academic. He’s completed a Bachelor of Arts and then Honours in Antarctica and Southern Ocean Studies. Thinking and writing are well-practiced skills, and he admits that he’s always felt the need to ‘fill in the gaps’ of knowledge of Antarctica, and demystify elements of the frozen south.
Thus, when Damien climbs, he has a unique drive and purpose beyond simply ‘bagging peaks’. It’s about discovery, and the unknown. He confesses that he was worried, after the publication of his second book, that suddenly swaths of mountaineers would flock to Antarctica since his book provides detailed notes and maps.
But, he says with a grin, “that just hasn’t happened. No one has climbed the big Sentinel Peaks since we left really…other than Vinson of course. There are still loads of peaks and routes that haven’t been done before!”
So, fancy being the first to bag a peak? Well, now you know… there’s plenty left. Thank you Damien for your time!
Damien Gildea is the author of books, “Mountaineering in Antarctica: Climbing in the Frozen South” and “Antarctic Mountaineering Chronology”, as well as two topographical maps.
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