The Expedition Trip Notes provide detailed information and background for Adventure Consultants' Mount Vinson Expeditions.
You can view the trip notes online by clicking the image or download a pdf by clicking the following link:
Mount Vinson Expedition 2023/24 Trip Notes
The team will have a minimum size of 4 members and 1 guide and a maximum size of 10 members and 2 guides.
You will find the Adventure Consultants mountain guides companionable and strong expedition leaders with considerable power and willingness to see you achieve your goals. The number of guides is determined by the team size but the normal ratio of guides to members is 1:5.
Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions (ALE) provides the logistic support and safety backup for our Mount Vinson expedition. The ALE staff have considerable experience and a strong involvement in Antarctica. They operate the charter planes to and from the ice, as well as the connecting flights to Mount Vinson Base Camp. You will receive several documents from our office that ALE requires before our expedition.
The expedition leader will be scheduled approximately six months out from the trip start. All of our Antarctic expedition trip leaders have extensive experience at high altitude and a proven record of safety, success and compatibility. Our Vinson expedition guiding team includes:
Guy Cotter - Trip #2, 2023/24
Guy is the CEO of Adventure Consultants and has spent over 25 years leading and organising expeditions around the globe. Guy's experience in the mountains is unquestionable and his skills are in high demand, not only as a guide but also as a high altitude cameraman, film project manager, training corporate groups, speaker and of course in expedition logistics and planning. Guy's impressive climbing resume includes the Seven Summits and eight of the world's fourteen 8,000m peaks.
Luis Benitez - Trip #5, 2023/24
Luis is the quintessential outdoor professional, with a career that spans from the heights of Everest to the halls of government, championing the outdoor recreation industry. Luis' climbing resume is impressive including six ascents of Mount Everest, 32 climbs of Seven Summits peaks and numerous climbs throughout South America, Nepal, Tibet and Europe.
Head Office Support Team
Running successful journeys and expeditions is more about experience, knowledge and strategic management than any other factors. As an organisation, we place a substantial amount of time and resources into ensuring our trips are well planned and supported. You can be assured that the AC staff will provide you with friendly advice and knowledgeable support throughout the planning stages of your trip and we will be there to provide backup while the trip is running.
Kelly McLaren, Expedition Liaison
Having worked for Adventure Consultants since 2004, Kelly has gained a vast knowledge of AC expeditions and treks. In her role as Expedition Liaison, Kelly will assist with the planning and logistics for your trip, providing useful information, reminders and answering any questions to ensure you arrive well prepared.
Expedition members will be provided with pre-trip medical advice and a medical questionnaire and asked to visit their family physician and receive a full medical examination. This information will be sighted only by the expedition leader and the ALE medical adviser and treated with full confidentiality.
Level of Experience Required
To climb Mount Vinson you need to be physically fit, have strong mental stamina and be capable of strenuous exercise for several days' duration. Expedition members can expect to be exerting themselves for 6-12 hours per day and be capable of carrying a 25kg/55lb pack.
While the route is quite long, it is not a technically difficult climb, so members with modest mountaineering backgrounds can join this expedition so long as they have some overall cold camping experience, have basic mountaineering skills including crevasse rescue training and are sufficiently ‘pack’ fit for long days with big loads.
Each of our trips is individually rated according to its physical and technical difficulty, displayed in the icons towards the top of each trip page. You can click on the accompanying question mark for additional descriptions and the full run-down of our grading system is available on our Difficulty Ratings page.
Preparing for Your Trip
Effective high altitude mountaineering requires a good (specific) physiology for the activity and a solid mountaineering background. It is often unknown who will perform well up high and who will not. There have been many instances of technically brilliant mountaineers not being able to climb at altitude whilst less experienced climbers, who do operate well up high, excel.
Of course, there is much we can do to enhance the attributes we have and these are best achieved by specific high altitude training. Check out our Fitness Training page for more detailed information.
What You Carry
Adventure Consultants are privileged to be one of the only operators permitted to leave caches of equipment at our mountain camps. This greatly reduces the need for carrying the larger loads of days gone by. In general, you can expect to carry a pack of around 12–15kg/26-33lbs and haul a sled of about 25kg/55lbs up to Low Camp. Above that, you should expect to carry a pack of 18–25kg/40–55lbs to High Camp. On summit day your pack is light, less than 8kg/17lbs. This reinforces the need to take just the right amount of equipment with you on the mountain and to ensure you are ‘pack fit’ before you arrive on the expedition. Your guide will help with your equipment check in Punta Arenas, but you will need to arrive fit and ready to tackle the mountain.
Mount Vinson is situated in the heart of the Ellsworth Mountains, 700 nautical miles from the South Pole. The mountain was first climbed by an American expedition during the summer of 1966/67 but was not ascended a second time until 1979. Both expeditions were supported by government programmes.
The Canadian company Adventure Network International (ANI) opened up this area to private expeditions and operated regular flights to its summer camp at Patriot Hills from 1985. In 2003/2004 they withdrew their Antarctic operations and Antarctica Logistics & Expeditions (ALE) stepped in. ALE is run by some of the same people that initially started ANI back in the 1980s and they now use a new camp at Union Glacier as their base to operate from in Antarctica.
Mount Vinson is 4,897m/16,067ft high but is not a technically difficult climb although it is an extremely cold ascent with temperatures dropping to minus 40°C near the summit. Under the leadership of experienced Antarctic guides, climbers of moderate experience can safely undertake the expedition.
While ALE will supply our transport to and from Antarctica, Adventure Consultants will provide all the leadership, guiding staff and team equipment necessary for the expedition.
AC will import western food for the expedition and supplement this with fresh and dried Chilean products. Our expeditions are renowned for the quality of the food and your guides cooking expertise will be legendary. The group will be expected to assist with cooking tasks. We bring a variety of foods and snacks to cater to most tastes however if you have a favourite snack food/treat for high on the mountain, we highly recommend you bring a small supply along with you. Snack food for the climbing days will be sorted in Punta Arenas before you depart and you will carry that for the expedition. Other snack food will be available for days when not on the mountain.
Clothing & Equipment
A full clothing and equipment checklist will be sent to all expedition members once their booking is confirmed. The expedition leader will be available prior to the trip to discuss individual equipment questions.