Mount Vinson and the South Pole Combo
Ski to the South Pole and climb one of the Seven Summits in the same month. This combo of expeditions is a must-do for any serious adventurer and especially those on the Explorers Grand Slam track. It's also the most efficient and economical way to experience these two Antarctic treasures in one visit to the white continent.
Our South Pole / Vinson Combo starts with the Last Degree Expedition, skiing from S 89° to S 90°, the Geographic South Pole. Even though the South Pole rests at 2,895 meters (9,500 feet) it has a physiological altitude of around 3,650 meters (12,000 feet). This means that you'll be well acclimatized when you finish the last degree and head to Vinson which rises 4,897 meters (16,067 feet) above sea level, and offers outstanding views of Mt. Gardiner, Mt. Shinn and the expanse of Antarctica. Arriving at Vinson with this level of acclimatization and cold weather experience makes for a makes for a safer, quicker and all around more efficient & enjoyable Vinson expedition.
Check it out: Five Tips For Planning Your South Pole / Vinson Combo
Join us for this remarkable series of expeditions and join the few who have stood at both the "bottom of the world" and the "top of Antarctica"! Give us a call or email us today to learn more about our South Pole / Vinson Combo or to book your space on our next departure.
- 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 [email protected]
- 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
2019-2020 Tentative Dates
December 31, 2019 – Jan 20, 2020
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: [email protected] 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.)