Mount Vinson Overview
Mount Vinson, also called Vinson Massif, is famously known as the highest mountain in Antarctica. It sits at 16,050ft, also winning the title of the sixth highest Seven Summit.
If you find Mount Vinson appealing due to its utter isolation, then you’re not alone. A view at the summit will consist of thousands of miles of ice caps, along with views of Mount Tyree, Epperly and Shin.
Located 750 miles from the South Pole, a Mt Vinson climb will be one of extreme challenge, putting you up against the true test of freezing weather conditions. With that being said, however, the majority of climbers find Vinson Massif one of the most memorable. There’s no climb quite like this.
Vinson Massif Facts
- Vinson Massif lies within the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains. It is an impressive 13 miles long and 8 miles wide!
- Mount Vinson was named after US politician Carl Vinson. He served his country (Georgia) for more than 50 years and also heavily supported the funding for Antarctic research.
- Antarctica is the coldest and windiest place on Earth - a climb up Vinson will remind you of this! Summer temperatures average at -28°C. Yes, you read that right...
History of Mount Vinson
The first sighting of Mount Vinson didn’t occur until January 1958, when it was spotted by a US Navy aircraft.
In 1963, two groups from the American Alpine Club began asking the National Science Foundation for support with a Mount Vinson expedition. And, three years later, all team members successfully reached the summit. Fast forward to 2006 and all members of this first Vinson expedition now have surrounding peaks named after them!
Pretty much all of the ascents on Mount Vinson were completed via the western side (from the Branscomb Glacier). This was until 2001 when a team consisting of eight people decided to give the east side a go. They not only had a successful summit, but they also managed to do a lot of scientific research on snow accumulation. They even took the first ground-based reading of the summit, proving that Vinson Massif had the highest point in Antarctica.
Experience Required for Climbing Vinson Massif
Climbers with moderate experience can safely climb Mount Vinson. The climb is not technically difficult - it has moderate slopes similar to other alpine routes and glaciated terrain which is expected.
The main challenge which comes from climbing Mount Vinson is the freezing temperatures, which can reach up to -40°C at the summit.
Mount Vinson Routes
The majority of climbers ascend from the western side of Mount Vinson, up the Branscomb Glacier. This route is technically moderate and only has a few steep areas which are measured at 45°. On average, this route will take 10 days to reach the summit, but conditions and climbing skills may change this.ou will then land on the blue ice runway of Union Glacier and hop on another short flight to Vinson Base Camp.