Imagine a location beyond civilisation where isolation is only surpassed by beauty and grandeur. Envision one of the last great wilderness locations on the planet where wildlife compete for survival and struggle for their very lives in some of the harshest conditions that exist on earth. If you want to get away to such a place for the adventure vacation of a lifetime then Antarctica is the place that you will want to visit. It For sheer breathtaking beauty, awe inspiring challenges, and a history filled with feats of tremendous courage and super-human resilience it is without parallel. Not only will you find beautiful pristine white frozen landscapes with some amazing wildlife, but Antarctica can also truly be regarded as an amazing destination for a climbing adventure vacation. Standing as the greatest mountaineering challenge to be found there is the summit of Vinson Massif.
At an elevation of 16,050 feet (4,892 m) Vinson Massif is the highest peak on the continent of Antarctica. It rises out of the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains above the Ronne Ice Shelf near the bottom of the Antarctic Peninsula. The massif itself is approximately 13 miles (21 km) long and 8.1 miles (13 km) wide and also includes the Vinson Plateau which contains a few peaks rising over 15,400 ft (4,700 m). Vinson Massif is located only 750 miles (1,200 km) from the South Pole, which definitely adds to the challenge and adventure.
Vinson Massif was first identified by a US NAVY aircraft in January 1958 and was named after U.S. Congressman Carl Vinson from Georgia, who had been a major supporter for funding Antarctic research. The peak of Vinson Massif wasn’t conquered until 1966 when a group of four climbers summited on December 18th followed by another four on December 19th and the final three on December 20th. Since that time the peak has been summited many times and does not prove to be technically difficult for climbers, although Antarctica still offers its fair share of physical challenges. All of the summits had been made by expeditions taking a route from the western side until January 2001 when the first ascent from the eastern side was achieved.As one of the seven highest mountains, on each of the world’s seven continents, and the 8th most prominent climbing peak in the world, it is prized by climbers wanting to work their way through a list of the world’s greatest summits.
Any climber wanting to challenge Vinson Massif must be in extremely fit physical condition and able to carry at least 30 pounds and able to pull another 20 pounds on a sled. A range of mountaineering skills are also required including self-arrest, glacier travel and crevasse rescue. Apart from the possession of previous climbing experience, any adventurer wanting to challenge Vinson Massif must be prepared for extreme cold and even ferocious winds. You can expect to be climbing for 8 hours per day and on summit day you can expect to spend 8 hours on the ascent and 6-7 hours to descend. The entire trip will typically last around 20 days and the journey to get to Antarctica can be made via flights from countries such as Chile.
There are many guide companies that provide guided expeditions and a quick web search will yield a number of them which you can choose from with detailed requirements and explanations of the trip, timing, and expected conditions. Along with the required climbing skills, experience, and physical requirements, at a typical average cost of around $30,000 per person to attempt the summit it is very much a vacation for the most serious of climbers.So if you are a climbing adventurer that can meet the physical requirements, skill pre-requisites, and are willing to take on the challenge and actually reach the peak of Vinson Massif, youwill be able to say that you have travelled to the bottom of the world…and climbed to the very top.