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!

 

  • Itinerary
  • Equipment List
  • Qualifications
  • Dates & Rates
  • Trip Insurance
  • Blogs

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 annie@polarexplorers.com
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

2016-2017 Tentative Dates

December 31, 2016 – Jan 20, 2017

Price

Please contact us for pricing

Inclusions

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.

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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.)

  • Until next time Antarctica

    This morning, a Twin Otter was finally able to fly into Vinson Base Camp to gather the team off the Branscomb Glacier. A short 40 min later they were back in Union Glacier, awaiting the Ilyushin 76 which touched down on the Blue Ice Runway around noon. 

    We just heard from the team that they had safely landed Punta Arenas where a hot showers and soft beds await. Tomorrow morning, with much regret, the team will dissolve as people catch flights back home.

    Thank you to everyone who followed along and engaged with us on social media, and thanks to all of the staff, guides, and team members that have made this expedition such an incredible success!

    Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see more photos of this and other expeditions, and also to receive news on upcoming expeditions! It's never too early to join the PolarExplorers Team.

     

     

     

    Written on Friday, 20 January 2017 22:06 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • Low visibility = plenty of time for cards

    The Vinson team thought they were good to go. The call came in that their pick up plane was on its way so they took down their tents and packed up. Then came the sound of the plane overhead. VROOOOM!

    Written on Thursday, 19 January 2017 20:04 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • Back at Vinson basecamp - mission accomplished!

    After a day of descending from high camp the team has returned to Vinson basecamp, their temporary home away from home. It brings a sense of closure to this awesome expedition, but that doesn't mean that it is over!

    Written on Thursday, 19 January 2017 04:49 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • Success! The summit on a beautiful day!

    We are excited to share that the South Pole / Vinson combo team reached the summit of Vinson today around 3:30 PM local time. Wohoo! Everyone was thrilled to be standing on the roof of Antarctica.

    Written on Wednesday, 18 January 2017 03:46 in South Pole & Emperor Penguins Be the first to comment!
  • Relaxing day at high camp

    If there's anything better than having a deep sleep inside a tent (with no wake up call!), it might be getting served pancakes and eggs with syrup and jam. That was the morning routine today for our group of climber's at Vinson high camp.

    Written on Monday, 16 January 2017 16:59 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • Climbers at high camp

    This is a quick update to let everyone know that the Vinson team made it to high camp. They are all doing well despite being knackered after a long day. They departed low camp around 2 PM and spent around 9 hours on the go, ascending roughly 3,350 ft / 1020m of elevation gain on slopes as steep as 45 degrees. They had a delicious dinner cooked up by Keith and Garrett and they are hitting the sac happy to be one step closer to the summit. Tomorrow they will take a rest day and hopefully (weather permitting) enjoy the outstanding views that high camp has to offer. 

    Keith on the ascent to high camp

    Written on Sunday, 15 January 2017 00:00 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • All fights are "GO", climbers at Vinson low camp

    Great news! The weather at Union Glacier and Vinson basecamp cleared enough for both our flights today. This means that both teams are on schedule with the South Pole team back at Punta Arenas and the Vinson team on the mountain. Antarctica has very fickle weather and when things are running on schedule it's a good reason to be thankful - and we are!

    Written on Saturday, 14 January 2017 00:00 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • Union Glacier, home away from home

    Both teams are now back at Union Glacier and enjoying the amenities of a well run basecamp. There is excellent food, hot showers, lectures and fresh faces to smile at and people to meet. 

    Written on Friday, 13 January 2017 00:00 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • Back to UG for one team, another night at the Pole for the other

    After a very celebratory night with many cheers and toasts, everyone finally got some shut-eye though several people would have like more!

    Written on Thursday, 12 January 2017 00:00 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • The Pole at last!

    We are very proud and excited to announce that both teams reached the Geographic South Pole today at 16:15 local time! Wooo hooo!

    Both teams slept in for a lazy morning and broke camp around 11 AM. For the first few marches they could see each other and by the last push before the station boundaries they were together. From there they phoned in their position to the base camp manager, Hannah, who warmly greeted them and told them to "come right on in." As they approached the Pole the many miles of tugging a sled over the vast Antarctic plateau melted away and all that was before them was the red and white striped Pole that marks 90 degrees South. Well, almost 90 degrees South. Most people don't know that there are two "poles" at the South Pole. There is the Ceremonial South Pole with the red and white stripes and reflective globe, surrounded by flags. This is the Pole that is most often photographed. There is also the actual US Geological Survey marker that denotes exactly 90 degrees South. This "Pole" is around 10 meters from the Ceremonial Pole. Don't worry, they'll have plenty of time at each pole before they leave!

    After many hugs, high fives, photos and phone calls home the teams, who had put in a long day by now, retreated to the temporary basecamp for visiting explorers. When we talked with them the camp manager, Hannah, who is an old friend to many of us, was preparing them a hearty dinner. This will be a celebratory dinner. Not only did they reach the South Pole, but they can relax and enjoy themselves without having to get up bright and early to ski tomorrow! We heard a rumor that Michael pulled out his very coveted Shackleton Whiskey, which everyone is drooling over. We also heard that Graeme had carried with him a very special medal that the monarch of Italy presented to Ernest Shackleton! So it is not a far stretch to say that The Boss himself is with them tonight.

    They have planned a station tour at 9 AM Chile time tomorrow morning. That's the middle of the night NZ time. This is intentional timing to reduce the impact of our 15 person strong team on the people who live and work at the station. Then they'll return to the Pole for a photo session when they expect to have more favorable lighting. In the later afternoon if all goes as planned they will fly back to the Union Glacier Basecamp.

    We have a wonderful audio dispatch from the dinner tent that captures the mood of the evening and we hope to post more photos of their day soon. So check back again!

    Written on Wednesday, 11 January 2017 21:56 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • So close, South Pole station in sight!

    It was another cold day for our teams. The windchill forecast was for -40 C/F but the wind didn't pick up as much as expected. Still it was bitterly cold.

    Written on Tuesday, 10 January 2017 00:00 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • Getting close!

    It was a cold day up on the polar plateau. Colder than any other day so far (around -24 C / -13 F) and there was enough wind to make everyone feel the bite (around 6 kt). This made managing hands and faces harder than previous days but everyone did well and survived the day with all parts intact.  

    Written on Monday, 09 January 2017 22:56 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • Half way there!

    Today the teams report that they had nice conditions with colder temps (around -23 C) with a 3-5 kt wind coming from the NE. In case you are wondering what direction that is if you are skiing to the South Pole it is hitting them in their left butt cheek and the backside of their left shoulder.

    Written on Monday, 09 January 2017 03:51 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • Antarctica at it's calmest

    Antarctica can be the harshest place on Earth but not today. Today it was amazingly beautiful. It was sunny, warm (-15 c), and utterly calm. Not a breath of wind. Most of the team were peeling off layers until they were only in base layers with no anorak. A good dose of sunscreen or the thinnest face covering protected their skin.

    Written on Sunday, 08 January 2017 01:37 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!
  • A beautiful day on the polar plateau

    Today was a beautiful day. The weather remained clear with a few scattered clouds and the wind diminished, first to light and variable and then to almost calm. The temperature remained around -20 C /-5F Here are the updates from the two teams:

    Written on Saturday, 07 January 2017 00:14 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs Be the first to comment!

 

 


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Phone 1.847.256.4409
Toll-Free USA/CAN. 800.732.7328


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Toll-Free USA/CAN. 800.732.7328

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