From day one this was a perfect trip. Meeting my teammates for the team dinner was something special. After that I learned so much from the experienced guides and rangers on the mountain. Of course also my teammates who climbed the other 6 summits could tell me a lot. But what a special place it is! Enjoyed every part of it and ALE did an amazing job. It's expensive for sure, but they take care of you. You would want for nothing more on this mountain. Thanks everybody, for making this one hell of start!
Had a fantastic trip with ALE in November 2019. The whole outfit was incredibly professional, from the pick-up at the airport to the transfer back! ALE have significant infrastructure in Antarctica and use it to provide a comfortable and stress free experience. Of course the actual summiting of Vinson requires physical and mental strength, but the quality of the guide (in our case, the excellent Scott Webster) and the support team made the whole experience much more enjoyable than I anticipated. The support on the mountain and the preparation that the rangers had undertaken enabled us to climb without having to erect tents at the end of each day and we only had to carry our equipment, food and some limited group provisions. This didn’t take away the challenge of the actual mountain, but made things a bit more comfortable for us than other teams that have to put their tents up on arrival at Base Camp, Low Camp and High Camp. I would highly recommend ALE.
ALE is highly recommended for the Vinson experience. I initially booked with a private guide in California, then was bounced to Adventure Consultants, who then bounced me to ALE. Needless to say, I was a bit unnerved. ALE took away my apprehension. They are the primary logistics provider to Antarctica, so all other service providers end up using them. However, if you are booked with them directly, they and their advance ranger team allow you to use their very sophisticated infrastructure, including posh tents with cots at Union Glacier, massive mess tents, fully standable tents at Vinson base camp, fully provisioned mess tents at Vinson base camp, and basic and comfortable mess and sleeping tents higher up. I'm a self made, guided, and solo climber, and had just completed the 7 Summits I'm 2 years on Vinson. For the most part, I have run my campaign very basically. That said, to go and have the full platinum experience was quite the reward. We didnt have to move our own tents, pads, fuel, or really any community gear. That's the way to rock down there! Finally, our guide Scott Webster, from Scotland, was the best guide. I simply cannot express how comfortable was his demeanor, professionalism, and leadership. He managed our motley crew exceptionally, including one rabble rouser with a bit of a grumpy streak (me!). He also took us on a mountain bike tour across Union glacier when we were finished, and ice climbing and exploring our very last day. Only if you desire to not be guided at all do I suggest you look elsewhere, but that is an impossibility on Vinson, so look no further than ALE.
ALE run the show down here. They provide all logistics for all other companies and manage all the camps on the mountain. ALE customers get priority for everything plus tours around Union Glacier before/after the expedition are all available at no extra cost. Their guides are world class. Their rangers (who help setup camps and fix ropes) are all world class mountain guides working for ALE for the season. Without a doubt the best expedition I have ever been on. Worth every penny.