Mt Vinson is the highest summit in Antarctica, making it one of the '7 summits' and just getting to this isolated mountain is a logistical feat. Antarctica is truly a beautiful wilderness and this expedition puts you right in the middle of it. Although not a technically difficult climb, it is a very physical climb!
Who is it for?
You must have a good grounding in mountaineering with several trips to the Alps climbing to PD+ or equivalent. In addition you must have competent ropework, be capable of participating in a 'live' crevasse rescue and have previous expedition experience in cold, harsh environments. Denali or an 8000m peak make good preparation for this trip. You need excellent fitness and resilience and you will be carrying heavy packs, dragging heavy pulks and living in full 'winter camping' conditions.
We contract ALE (Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions) to fly us from Punta Arenas, Chile to the Antarctic continent in their Russian Illysian Jet airplane. We land on a natural ice runway where ALE maintains a camp and logistics station. From here we transfer to smaller Canadian made Twin Otters, which take us to the Mt. Vinson base camp. On any trip to Antarctica one must remember that weather is the ultimate decider, Delays on each leg of this journey are the norm.
We climb during the months of December and January, Antarctica’s summer. During this time of year we benefit from 22 hours of sunlight and many high pressure systems. Temps can range between 20 degrees F and -40 degrees F. When the sun is out, and the winds are calm it’s a very comfortable place, but it can also be a desperately cold unforgiving environment when the weather changes. The climbing up Mt Vinson’s normal route is not technically difficult, but the cold dry air and southerly latitude make it not one to be taken lightly.
Antarctica is an extremely beautiful, and unique mountain environment of mind blowing scenery and extreme conditions. Mt Vinson’s remoteness adds an adventure aspect that is rare, even in mountain climbing.
Weather is the deciding factor in Antarctica, and this itinerary assumes good weather. Typically, however, we can expect delays of 4 days or so. This means the expedition can vary between 15 and 21 days round trip from your home.
We will meet you at the airport in Punta Arenas (Chile) and escort you to your hotel where will do a gear check. Following the gear check we will discuss logistics during dinner.
On the morning of day 2 we will attend an orientation and slide presentation from ALE. Directly after the orientation we will return to our hotel to weigh and organize our gear for pick up. Once our gear has been picked up we are on stand by to fly.
Fly onto the continent, transfer planes and fly to base camp. We often set up and spend the night at base camp at 7,000 feet.
After organizing loads into our backpacks and sleds, we move up the Branscomb glacier and set up our first camp at 9,000 feet.
We again pack sleds and move our camp a few more miles up the glacier to 10,000 feet.
We leave the sleds and carry food and fuel to high camp at 13,000 feet, make a cache and return to our camp below.
Move to high camp.
Rest and acclimatize
Descend to base camp and fly to the Illysian runway, and on to Punta Arenas.
Register your interest in this expedition
Get in touch if you are interested in this expedition and we can provide you with detailed information and discuss your suitablity for the team.