The Expedition Trip Notes provide detailed information and background for Adventure Consultants' Climb Antarctica Expeditions.
You can view the trip notes online by clicking the image or download a pdf by clicking the following link:
Climb Antarctica Trip Notes
On the Climb Antarctica expedition there is usually a 1:1 guide to climber ratio, however should you have a group or climbing partner with similar objectives and experience then we may operate at a higher ratio, depending on the technical difficulty of your objectives. You will find the Mountain Guides companionable and strong expedition leaders with considerable power and willingness to see you achieve your goals.
Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions (ALE) provides the logistic support and safety backup for our Climb Antarctica expedition. The ALE staff have considerable experience and a strong involvement in Antarctica, including operating the charter plane services to and from the ice. You will receive several documents from our office that ALE requires before our expedition.
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, Client Liaison
Kelly brings a vast knowledge of AC expeditioning to her role as 'Rest of the World' Client Liaison. Having worked for AC since 2004 Kelly oversees those trips outside of New Zealand, Europe or the Himalaya.
Expedition members will be provided with pre-trip medical advice and a medical questionnaire and asked to visit their family physician to 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 join our Climb Antarctica Expedition you need to be physically fit and be capable of strenuous exercise for several days’ duration. Expedition members can expect to be exerting themselves for about four to six hours per day and be capable of carrying a 25kg pack.
Because the climbing is varied and we can tailor the objectives to meet your experience level, members with modest mountaineering backgrounds can join this expedition so long as they have some overall cold camping experience, some basic mountaineering skills and are reasonably fit. See our Fitness Training Programs for information on how we can help you prepare for the expedition.
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.
Our Climb Antarctica allows flexibility to choose peaks at a range of altitudes and technical difficulty, climbing from Union Glacier at 700m, up to peaks around 3000m or more. Of course there is much we can do to prepare for the expedition through specific training for altitude and mountaineering. Check out our Fitness Training page for more detailed information.
What You Carry
In general you can expect to carry around 15kg (35lbs) pack and haul an additional 12kg (25lbs) in your sled if your objectives involve moving away to a secondary camp. On summit days 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 challenge ahead.
Union Glacier is located in the Heritage Range amongst the Ellsworth Mountains, 700 nautical miles from the South Pole. These mountains are the highest in Antarctica and includes the continent’s highest Vinson Massif (4,892m). The mountains were discovered on 23 November 1935 by Lincoln Ellsworth on a trans-Antarctic flight, and he named them the Sentinel Range.
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.
The terrain and climbing in the area is varied with routes ranging from easy to technical levels. Under the leadership of experienced Antarctic guides, climbers of varying levels of 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.
Freshly-cooked meals, baked goods and desserts will be served from Union Glacier Camp's fully-equipped kitchen, with fresh food regularly flown in from Chile. Buffet-style meals are served at set times which brings together all the camp residents, from mountain climbers to polar expeditioners and research scientists. Vegetarian options are available upon request and in between meals, self-serve snacks and beverages will be available. When in field camps lighter weight mountain meals will be prepared by your guide, although assistance with cooking tasks is always appreciated. We bring a variety of foods and snacks to cater to most tastes however if you have a favourite snack food/treat, we highly recommend you bring a small supply along with you.
Clothing & Equipment
A full clothing and equipment checklist will be sent to all expedition members, once their booking is confirmed. Our Equipment Co-ordinator will be available prior to the trip to provide advice and discuss individual equipment questions.