16,067 ft / 4,897m 

Antarctica's highest mountain, Vinson Massif, lies within the Ellsworth Mountains - 700 nautical miles from the South Pole. Adventure Consultants has a long established relationship with Vinson Massif: the 2013/14 expeditions will be our 20th season on the mountain, following in the footsteps of Rob Hall’s 1989 ascent with a United States geology expedition.

An expedition to  Vinson Massif requires very involved logistics due to the extreme nature of the weather and conditions in Antarctica. With such a long history of successful expeditions to this area, Adventure Consultants has a well established ascent methodology. New Zealand’s close working relationship with Antarctica means our seasoned mountain guide leaders come with considerable experience in this remote and demanding environment.

We begin the adventure in Punta Arenas, Chile, where we board an Ilyushin 76 aircraft and fly to the blue ice runway and tent camp at Union Glacier on the Antarctic continent. As weather allows we move by Twin Otter aircraft to the Base Camp on Vinson Massif and begin the ascent which is usually completed over five or six days.

We carry large packs and tow our laden sleds up a large glacier below the bulky mass of the peak to our first camp. It’s hard work but from here we can split
our loads to carry to our top camp over a couple of days. Once established at top camp we will time an ascent of the summit as weather allows.  The summit day is 8-10 hours up a long glacier followed by a spectacular ridge climb with boundless views across a spectacular mountain and open plateau landscape that is unrivalled anywhere on earth.

The climbing on the mountain is not technically difficult but good pack fitness is essential as all members take a share in the load carrying. A solid background of snow and ice techniques is required to be proficient in this ice covered continent and previous snow camping experience will help you enjoy the specifics of Antarctic climbing.

As with all our expeditions, we adhere to a strict environmental code to ensure we leave no human waste in Antarctica’s pristine wilderness.

Expedition members often comment on how this ascent is ideal for fulfilling the desire to experience the breathtaking majesty of the Antarctic interior.

  • The most pristine and remote of the "Seven Summits"
  • Experience the unbelievable vastness of the Antarctic interior.
  • Modern day Antarctic exploration with South Pole and first ascent options with an Adventure Consultants mountain guide  


Rob Hall and Gary Ball, the founders of Adventure Consultants, ran their first commercial expedition to Vinson Massif in December 1992. They worked together with Adventure Network International (ANI) whom they had established a relationship with in 1990 for the Vinson climb that completed their “Seven Summits in Seven Months” project. Rob had already climbed the mountain in 1989 as a field assistant to geologists Ed Stumps and Paul Fitzgerald; theirs was a United States Antarctic Research Programme expedition that also included Ed’s brother Mugs, an accomplished

American alpinist.

Vinson and most of the other high Ellsworth peaks were first climbed in 1967 by American alpinists supported from McMurdo Station by the United Sates government programme.

Giles Kershaw was a veteran polar pilot who during the 1980’s pioneered landing large wheeled aircraft on natural ice runways. He founded ANI and established a tent camp at Patriot Hills, accessed by DC6 aircraft flying direct from Punta Arenas. This made the Ellsworth Mountains accessible to private adventurers.

Adventure Consultants has continued to take advantage of the relative accessibility of Patriot Hills, and now Union Glacier to stage Antarctic expeditions including the ascent of Vinson Massif: Guy Cotter first guided the peak in 1994 for Adventure Consultants.

Vinson Massif Dates2014 / 2015 season 

Trip 1:  November 24 - December 8, 2014

Trip 2:  December 5 -19, 2014

Trip 3:  December 27, 2014 - January 10, 2015

Trip 4:  January 7 - 21, 2015

Duration: 16 days

Departure: ex Punta Arenas, Chile

Price: US$39,000

Mount Vinson and Ski The Last Degree: US$76,950

Add on dates for Ski the Last Degree after your Vinson climb with AC;

Vinson Trip # 2 and SLD: 5-30 December, 2014

We also have a Ski the Last Degree to South Pole only option US$58,500

Dates: 16 - 30 December, 2014

 Please click below to view the trip notes for the Adventure Consultants Vinson Massif Expeditions 2013 / 2014 online or to download a pdf version of the notes:

Adobe Acrobat DocumentVinson Massif 14-15 Trip Notes

Do you have some questions about our Vinson Massif expedition? Check out our Vinson Massif FAQs!

Read the dispatches from previous Adventure Consultants Vinson Massif Expeditions - Vinson 2002, Vinson 2003, Vinson 2004, Vinson 2005, Vinson 2006, Vinson 2007Vinson 2008Vinson 2009, Vinson 2010, Vinson 2011, Vinson 2012-2013.

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