Kokatat, the independent paddlewear and accessories company, sponsored a land and sea expedition covering never-before navigated sections of the Antarctic Peninsula. Chilean kayakers and explorers Cristian Donoso and Mario Sepúlveda used Kokatat products including the GORE-TEX® Expedition dry suit, the GORE-TEX® Deluxe sea skirt, and other Kokatat accessories for their self-supported journey that began in November 2009 and finished near the end of March 2010.
Following a maritime and terrestrial route from the coast to the highest summits of the Antarctic Andes, Donoso and Sepúlveda achieved the first foot ascent, descent, and crossing of the Plateau Herbert. The team also opened a new exit corridor between the plateau of the Antarctic Peninsula and the sea. They also became the first team to explore the Blériot glacier.
This was the second successful Antarctic Peninsula expedition to rely solely on kayaks and without external support, in history.
Donoso and Sepúlveda gained notoriety previously for their self-supported kayak expeditions across Antarctica and Patagonia; the duo has become well-known for paddling waters not previously covered by man.
“The main goal of this expedition was to alert the public about the effects of global warming on the Antarctic coast,” Donoso said. “Throughout the trip we made a photographic and audiovisual register of landscapes and wildlife that we will package into educational tools to help show the effect climate change is having in this area.”
The Antarctic Peninsula is warming five times faster than the rate of Earth’s overall warming. Many species with the capacity to live in these cold, icy and harsh conditions are now losing their only habitat.
To complete the expedition, beginning and ending in Portal Point, the team faced extremely hostile conditions. The majority of the trip consisted of advancing through a dense mist that impeded the search for a logical path between the cracks, seracs and cliffs they encountered. Tireless wind made hauling the kayaks extremely difficult and their hands and feet were never far from freezing.
On separate occasions, wind and snowstorms kept their camp buried for several days, for as long as one week on three separate occasions. For the duration of the expedition, there was, in all, more than one month of storms.
About Cristian Donoso & Mario Sepúlveda
Christian Donoso led a previous more extensive kayak expedition to study the effects of global warming in the Antarctic, and the first self-sufficient expedition in kayak that climbed a mountain in this continent. He has tackled near 50 expeditions in Antarctica and Patagonia during the last 16 years, acceding to sectors never before explored. He has also realized several expeditions along the Mountain chain of the Andes, Mata Atlántica and Polynesia. In 2006 he earned the Rolex Awards for Enterprise in the category Exploration and Discovery.
Mario Sepúlveda is a climber of great experience in the Andes. He has been a Chilean champion of ski mountaineering, representing his country on several world tilts. In the last decade he has been employed as national park ranger and guide at two mountain parks, one being the Volcano Ojos del Salado, where he lived for several months at more than 5000 meters of height. Nowadays he is employed as adviser at avalanches and winter risks for APM Srl Argentina.
For expedition coverage, please visit: www.andesantarticos.com
About Kokatat Watersports Wear
For the past 39 years, Kokatat has built a reputation as a friendly company of paddling enthusiasts, dedicated to creating innovative paddlewear and accessories. Kokatat is a highly trusted brand known for its independence, high level of quality in addition to an extremely well respected, service-driven business model. Kokatat is an incredibly strong brand and is known for authenticity and launching game changing paddling products. Please visit www.kokatat.com and follow Kokatat on Twitter “@kokatat”.