PolarExplorers teams with Madison Mountaineering!
Ski to the South Pole and climb one of the Seven Summits in the same month. If you're headed to 90 degrees south, you might as well climb Vinson Massif since you're in the neighborhood (and vice versa!) Vinson rises 4,897 meters (16,067 feet) above sea level, and offers outstanding views of Mt. Gardiner, Mt. Shinn and the wondrous Antarctic landscape.
PolarExplorers is proud to partner with Garrett Madison of Madison Mountaineering for our Vinson expeditions. We've partnered to deliver the best South Pole / Vinson combo expedition of the globe. With PolarExplorer's expertise in polar travel and Garrett's expertise in mountaineering you will be joining the best.
Why join our combo expedition? Because we do it right.
We start with the Last Degree Expedition, skiing from S 89 degrees to S 90 degrees, the Geographic South Pole. The last degree has a physiological altitude of around 12,000 feet. This means that you'll be well acclimatized when you finish the last degree and head to Vinson. This makes for a safer, quicker and more efficient Vinson expedition. Most companies climb Vinson first. Which means several additional days of acclimatization and a less comfortable and less efficient ascent.
On our expedition you'll be the with the same guides and the same team for the duration. This means that by the time you reach Vinson you will be a well oiled and efficient team. Most other guide companies have separate Vinson and then South Pole teams and frequently separate guides. This means starting all over with a new team between expeditions.
Doing your combo expedition with PolarExplorers and Madison Mountaineering gives you a big advantage over doing it the standard way. Join us for this outstanding adventure!
- Equipment List
- Dates & Rates
- Trip Insurance
Vinson Massif Mountaineering Daily Itinerary
The following itinerary begins in Punta Arenas.
(Participants on the South Pole/Vinson combination will meet up with the group on day 3)
- Day 1
- Upon arriving in Punta Arenas you'll shuttle to your hotel and have time to unpack and get comfortable. A PolarExplorer guide will contact you and establish a time to review your kit to ensure that you have all the necessary items. Punta Arenas has a few outdoor stores and it is possible that you may be able to find any last minute necessities in town.
- Day 2
- A pre-flight briefing and reception in the late morning will provide an opportunity to meet other people on your team. You'll also have an opportunity to review the upcoming itinerary and ask remaining questions about the coming days. In the afternoon your luggage will be weighed and collected for the flight to Antarctica. The rest of the afternoon can be spent exploring Punta Arenas and the surrounding areas.
- Day 3
- From Punta Arenas you will travel by charter aircraft across the historic Drake Passage to the Antactica and the Union Glacier basecamp. Total flight time is approximately 5 hours. This flight is very weather dependent. It is not uncommon to be grounded in Punta Arenas due to the weather, or have to return to Punta Arenas if conditions near Union Glacier deteriorate. Weather permitting, we will land on the ice runway at Union Glacier and make our way to the basecamp. After setting up our camp, we'll have a chance to explore this unique basecamp and meet the staff who call it home for the season. There is a possibility that we will set off immediately for Vinson Massif. Make sure to have your camera handy! This is an incredible flight with outstanding views of the Sentinel Range as we approach Vinson.
- Day 4
- Upon reaching Vinson basecamp we will set up camp and make ourselves at home, giving ourselves time to acclimatize. Vinson basecamp is positioned on the west side of Vinson, on the Branscomb Glacier. It lies at about 7,000 feet (2,133 m). At basecamp we will reorganize our gear, review the route, and make last minute preparations for our ascent..
- Day 5-12
- For the next seven days we'll ascend & descend the Vinson Massif. Though we rate the climb as "moderately difficult", the extreme temperatures (-10°F to -40°F), and the likelihood of strong winds combine to make this a potentially very difficult climb. Given the remote location of the mountain, caution is the order of the day! Contact us for a detailed description of the route and to get more information here firstname.lastname@example.org
- Day 13
- Back at Vinson basecamp, we'll ready ourselves for our flight back to Union Glacier and onwards to Punta Arenas.
PolarExplorers Vinson Massif Expedition: Equipment List
Upon registration, you will receive a comprehensive gear that explains the importance of each item as well as gear recommendations from our past participants. Please contact us for our Vinson equipment list!.
The Vinson Massif Mountaineering Qualifications
Vinson is not considered a very technically demanding mountain, but what it lacks in technical difficulty it more than makes up for with extreme conditions and a very remote location. As a team member on our Vinson expeditions you should be ready to handle basic mountain / glacial travel, roped team travel, fixed line ascension, self arrest and crevasse rescue, all while managing your layers and physical needs. You should be able to carry 30 kilo (65 lbs).
This expedition will likely encounter extremely cold and windy conditions. Living in such conditions 24 hours a day can be very challenging. This expedition demands that you stay well-fed and hydrated. You need to be proactive about keeping yourself healthy and free of injury. Every ounce of training and preparation will help to make the expedition more enjoyable and safer. Please contact us with further questions here.
Mount Vinson (in combo with Last Degree Ski Expedition) Dates & Rates
2018-2019 Tentative Dates
December 31, 2018 – Jan 20, 2019
Please contact us for pricing
Includes all accommodations and meals while in Antarctica, guide(s), permits, communication & safety gear.
Expedition Trip Insurance
Trip cancellation insurance is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for every PolarExplorers expedition.
Medical Evacuation insurance with a minimum coverage of $300,000 USD is REQUIRED on every PolarExplorers expedition.
Ensure that your policy covers your activity, destination and any pre-existing medical conditions (to cover pre-existing medical conditions you may need to purchase your policy within 14 days or less of your initial deposit).
If you are mountaineering check that the policy covers roped technical mountain travel and the elevation limit that you will have.
Ripcord Insurance (For non-US residents use the Offer Code "ripcordintl" which will enable you to receive quotes and/or purchase policies.) If your expedition is more than USD $30,000 you may need to send an email to: ClientServices@redpointresolutions.com or call them at +1 617-307-4636
If you live in the USA you have additional options.
Travelex Insurance - Choose the TRAVEL SELECT policy and add the ADVENTURE PLUS PAK to receive appropriate medical evacuation coverage.
Travel Guard has comprehensive policies that include trip cancellation or you can purchase a Single Trip Medical Evacuation Important! You must include the optional Adventure Sports coverage upgrade if you are climbing any mountains or traveling in rope teams. (Pre-existing medical coverage is not available with this policy.)
It's a wrap!
Your well wishes and crossed fingers worked! The weather cleared and our team departed from Kulusuk this afternoon, saying their final farewell's to Greenland. It was a fitting end to a trip filled with weather delays, storms, & holding patterns, but also plenty of good times and rewarding days and above all a brilliant team.
Thanks to everyone who followed this blog, and thanks to our amazing Greenland team. Heather, Dale, Ian, John, Eric, Taylor, Salo and Julius, you had us wondering how it would all end and we are delighted to have been a part of your adventure.
Until next time!
Greenland Weather Strikes Again!
The team left Tasiilaq this morning on a short helicopter flight to the airport at Kulusuk. They were scheduled to fly to Reykjavik, Iceland a couple hours later.
Photos From Yesterday
We received these photos late last night. Looks like a GREAT end to the expedition! Check back again today for more...
A huge CONGRATULATIONS is in order for our team who reached their final waypoint at approximately 11:30 AM Greenland time and successfully finished their crossing of the Greenland icecap, woohoo!!!!
The Day Described With Four W's
The team could describe today using four words that start with W: wind, whiteout, warm and wet.
Chicken Strips and French Fries!
What does it say when the blog title is about food? Well, for starters food is in the top three things people think about while skiing all day every day...
Better Than Yesterday, But Still Hard
It was another tough day on the Greenland icecap. It was made that way mostly by the fresh, deep snow. The visibility was terrible again but towards the afternoon they got some breaks with a little sunshine. Oh what a sight!
Skiing in a Whiteout
Tough day today. The visibility was nil, there was absolutely no contrast, there was wind in the face, and snow. A whole lot of nothing to look at but the backs of team mates and the butts of dogs.
Getting It Done
This team is getting it done, one day at a time. Today another 37 km are behind them. They are tired but satisfied and the end of the expedition is not too far beyond the horizon.
Making Progress - Another 37 km
The team made great progress today, putting 37 km behind them. The weather was a little of everything. Cloudy, snowy, a little sun, always the wind.
On The Move Again
A day after being tent bound by strong winds the team was back at it. They made 32 kilometers in a slightly modified way of travel.
Another Day, Another Storm
We thought this might happen, but it's not all bad. Another storm day. Strong winds, cold temperatures and low visibility all combine to keep out teams in their tents today.
Shortened Day Due To Wind
It was a beautiful day today, but it was also a cold day and the wind just kept coming and coming (almost a direct headwind). It all started out OK with clear skies but as the wind picked up the ground visibility went down, and with temperatures hovering around 0° F the windchill was REALLY cold.
Cold and Windy But Good
Welcome to another day on the Greenland icecap, where today the wind and the cold were on the minds of our team. They did a great job, putting almost 30km behind them.
Another 30 km Day
Actually it was 30.2 km - a seemingly small difference, but not if you are the person who did all the skiing! They'll take every tenth of a kilometer that they can get!