Mt. Vinson

16,064 feet Antarctica December through January


Mt. Vinson is located at 78 degrees 35 minutes south, 85 degrees 25 minutes west, in the Sentinel Range of Antarctica’s Ellsworth Mountains. Vinson Massif’s summit is the highest in Antarctica, and just getting to this isolated mountain is a logistical feat. 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. A perfect trip, Punta Arenas to Punta Arenas is 10 days, but expect on average two weeks with delays.

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.

Of all the expeditions I have led around the world, guiding in Antarctica is possibly the most personally rewarding. 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.


Day 1:

We will meet you at the airport in Punta Arenas and escort you to your hotel where will do a gear check. Following the gear check we will discuss logistics during dinner.

Day 2:

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.

Day 3:

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.

Day 4:

After organizing loads into our backpacks and sleds, we move up the Branscomb glacier and set up our first camp at 9,000 feet.

Day 5:

We again pack sleds and move our camp a few more miles up the glacier to 10,000 feet.

Day 6:

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.

Day 7:

Move to high camp.

Day 8:

Rest and acclimatize

Day 9:

Summit day

Day 10:

Descend to base camp and fly to the illysian runway, and on to Punta Arenas.

The price is $40,000 per person.

The major cost involved with this trip is for the logistics which are provided by ALE. Trip insurance is highly recommended.