An expedition to Vinson Peak is often called the “Key to the 7 Summits”. The mountain itself does not present serious technical problems, but it is very difficult to even reach it. Mount Vinson is very remote and therefore any expedition is very expensive. The rewards is great: climbing the highest summit of Antarctica is an incredible experience in itself and for many the final step to reaching their 7 summits goal.
A trip to Vinson Massif is exceptionally interesting, beautiful and prestigious. So far very few people have done it and for most, it is the highlight of their "7 summits quest".
Our program starts in Punta Arenas (Chile). From there, a special Ilyushin-76 aircraft takes us to the Union Glacier camp in Antarctica and lands on the ice (with wheels).
From the Union Glacier camp, a small ski-equipped plane brings us to Vinson Massif Base Camp (BC), where we pitch our tents. From here we start the ascent of Mount Vinson, using another 2 intermediate camps before attempting to reach the summit of Mount Vinson, the highest point of Antarctica.
Antarctica is an extremely cold place, even in summer, but as compensation, we will have sunlight all day and night, so 24-hours daylight! You will not need head torches and can save on batteries.
We recommend that you arrive in Punta Arenas (Chile) at least 3 days before the official start of the expedition, so you will be ready for a quick departure to Antarctica. Due to the very unstable weather in the area (we fly over the infamous Drake Passage), our flights cannot be definitely planned in advance; the date and flight time is determined by the weather. Sometimes we leave early, but often there are delays as well. The waiting should not be too long (1-3 days), but rare delays of 10 days have been recorded.
Description of the region:
The Vinson Massif is a part of the Sentinel Range (Ellsworth Mountains), lying in the west of Antarctica and overlooking the Ronne Ice Shelf. Discovered in 1935 by the American explorer Lincoln Ellsworth, it is the highest massif on the continent and the highest peak of Antarctica is Mount Vinson - 16,066 ft or 4,897 m.
Note that the itinerary below is just a guideline. We will adapt it as needed depending on weather conditions, acclimatisation of the team members etc. The flights could be combined on the same day if needed, more time could be spent in some camps or alternatively, the expedition can be much shorter if all goes well and you could be back in Chile ahead of schedule.