Queenstown-based mountain guide and explorer Aaron Halstead is claiming a world first with the ascent of the highest summit on the most remote island on Earth.
Halstead led three others to the 780-metre icy summit of the Antarctic island Bouvet on Monday.
Bouvet Island is recognised as the most remote island in the world – being 1750km away from the nearest land, in Antarctica – and its interior had never been explored.
The ascent was part of an 11,000km expedition sailing from Cape Horn in South America via several remote Antarctic Islands, including Bouvet, to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.
Halstead, 40, making his 21st expedition to Antarctica, said getting ashore on Bouvet was the greatest challenge, as the island is surrounded by steep glacial faces and cliffs, and battered by Antarctic swells.
“Once I had negotiated a route up the cliffs, we achieved the summit via a long crevasse ridden glacial approach, with a final summit pyramid to climb,” he said in a statement from Antarctica.
“Until a few years ago, more people had stood on the Moon than the shores of Bouvet.
“To be the first to explore the interior of the island was truly a privilege.”
IMAGE: Supplied photo made available, Friday, Feb. 24, 2012, of Queenstown-based mountain guide and explorer Aaron Halstead. Halstead is claiming a world first with the ascent of the Antarctic island Bouvet the highest summit on the most remote island on Earth. (AAP Image/Supplied)