Vinson Massif

Experiences on Vinson Massif

Antarctic Logistics:

OVERVIEW

Imagine yourself on the summit of Mount Vinson 16,050 ft (4892 m), the highest peak in Antarctica and one of the coveted Seven Summits. Majestic, snow-covered peaks stand guard over vast glaciers below and in the distance, snow meets sky along a noticeably curved horizon. This is a moment to savor. All of the challenges you faced to get here only highlight the vast beauty before you and the sense of accomplishment that comes from achieving the extraordinary.

Mount Vinson lies in the aptly named Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains, deep in the interior of Antarctica. It was first summited on December 18, 1966 and for many years did not see a second ascent due to the challenges of accessing its remote location. In 1985, we pioneered logistics to support a private expedition to Mount Vinson and 30+ years later, we continue to guide climbers to the top of the bottom of the world!

You’ll ascend the Branscomb Shoulder Route which has become the “standard route”, climbing gentle glaciers, 40° snow covered slopes, an exposed high plateau, and spectacular summit ridge. The rate of ascent and daily climbing plan set by your experienced mountain guide will be geared toward the safety and success of your climb. To climb Mount Vinson is to challenge yourself on a mountain like no other in one of the most remote regions on Earth.


WEATHER

The interior of Antarctica has a cold, dry, windy climate. Average mid-season temperatures at our base camp range from 10F to 25F (-12C to -4C ). On a sunny windless day it can feel quite warm but, when the wind blows, you will be glad of warm layers and a wind jacket. Temperatures can drop as low as -22F (-30C) in early November.

Mount Vinson climbers should prepare for extreme temperatures -40F (-40C) and severe storms.


ACTIVITY LEVEL

Extremely Strenuous

Extremely strenuous trips include skiing and climbing expeditions in the most remote corners of Antarctica, where physiological altitude may exceed 11,000 feet (3350m) for many days in a row, and temperatures may drop below (–40°F / –40°C), with severe wind chill and storms. You will be active for 8-12 hours a day carrying or hauling heavy loads for many days in a row. You must have the physical ability to cover a minimum daily distance and the mental stamina to continue in extreme conditions when you are physically tired. Technical skill, a high level of strength and aerobic fitness, and commitment to a dedicated pre-trip training program are required.

 

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