Vinson Massif

Expedition Team Member Reference Notes

Adventure Consultants are great with communication and preparing us for the expedition. Below are some of the reference notes they sent us:

Maps

History

The Vinson Massif is situated in the heart of the Ellsworth Mountains, 700 nautical miles from the South Pole. The mountain was first climbed by an American expedition during the summer of 1966/67 but was not ascended a second time until 1979. Both expeditions were supported by government programmes.

In December of 1992, Adventure Consultants founders Rob Hall and Gary Ball ran their first commercial expedition to Antarctica and previous to this, Rob and Gary climbed Vinson Massif in 1990, and Rob earlier in 1989.

Expedition Itinerary

Duration: December 26, 2017 – January 10, 2018

Day 1 Meet in Punta Arenas, Chile
Day 2 Weighing & loading of gear
Day 3 Expedition Briefing
Day 4 Fly to Union Glacier, Antarctica
Day 5 Fly to Vinson Massif Base Camp
Day 6 – 13 Climb Vinson Massif
Day 14 Return to Union Glacier
Day 15 Depart for Punta Arenas
Day 16 Leave for home destination

Prohibited items in Antarctica

In order to protect the pristine Antarctic environment, we ask that you ensure your boots and all items are clean and free from soil or other contaminants. Naturally, we also adopt a ‘leave no trace’ policy whilst in the mountain environment and this is nowhere more relevant than in Antarctica. Your guide will brief you on these protocols when you meet in Punta Arenas.

What you carry on the mountain

Unlike Himalayan climbing, we do not have the luxury of Sherpa / Porter support. We must carry all the team equipment and food on the mountain above Base Camp and this can constitute a large load. You will be required to carry your fair share of the kit and this can amount to as much as 25kg or 55lbs per person. This reinforces the need to take just the right amount of equipment with you on the mountain and to ensure you are ‘pack fit’ before you arrive on the expedition. Your guide will help with your equipment check in Punta Arenas, but you will need to arrive fit and ready to tackle the mountain.

Training for Vinson Massif

In order for your expedition to be both more enjoyable and to increase your chance of summit success, you should train for at least 3-4 months, and ideally 6 months, prior to your climb. Once you are comfortable carrying a weighted pack, add sled-hauling training to your program by pulling a rubber tyre or plastic sled on grass or snow. Core strength is important for sled hauling, as well as shoveling snow when the necessity for building protective walls for the tents arises.

You can prepare in other ways by becoming familiar with your equipment, practicing packing your gear at home and fitting crampons to your boots until it becomes second nature. Refine your gear organisation systems so that you can easily find everything when cohabitating in a mountain tent with another team mate. If possible, head out camping for the weekend and practice your camp craft skills.

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