Antarctica is the world’s southernmost continent. As a result of its unique location, it is also the coldest, driest, least polluted and least populated. The majority of the landmass is covered by several ice sheets, although the coastal areas are also quite mountainous. Over the past few decades, the continent has become an increasingly popular extreme adventure location with everything from skiing to the South Pole to climbing one of the Seven Summits.
Famous Mountains in Antarctica
Antarctica is home to several different mountain ranges, including the Transantarctic Range that runs through the middle of the continent and the Sentinel Range, on the Western Peninsula. However, Mount Vinson, the continent’s highest peak is the most popular climbing destination.
While not technically as difficult as many other members of the Seven Summits, the harsh conditions and remote location make it one of the toughest to achieve.
Other popular expeditions in Antarctica are:
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Quick Facts about Antarctica
- The climbing season coincides with the summer in Antarctica and as a result, the sun never sets throughout the entire expedition. For the majority of the day, the sun sits above the horizon, but never makes it directly overhead.
- One of the most popular ways to see Antarctica is to head out sailing and skiing along the Western Peninsula, which provides participants with the opportunity to go whale watching and climb some of the smaller coastal mountains.
- Queen Maud Land, in East Antarctica, is one of the most mountainous and least explored parts of the continent. Expeditions to this part of Antarctica benefit from having nearly no other contact with humans over vast stretches of what may in fact be unexplored territory.
How To Get To Antarctica
The vast majority of trips to Antarctica will begin with a flight into Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport (PUQ) in Punta Arenas, Chile. From here, guides generally charter a flight or boat to Antarctica. There are also options to fly charter from Capetown, South Africa to East Antarctica.
What To Expect in Antarctica
Weather: During the summer, temperatures in Antarctica, even along the coastline, are generally well below freezing. In the interior of the continent, average daily temperatures hover around -28 ºC (-18.4 ºF). Precipitation is infrequent in Antarctica, but storms can suddenly hit the coast, adding to the dangers of climbing the exposed mountains,
Peak Trekking/Climbing Season: December to February
Currency: Most guides charge for trips to the South Pole in US dollars (USD) or Euros (EUR).