Day 1 Fly to Antarctica
Depart Punta Arenas Chile. Fly little more than 4 hours to Antarctica by private transport jet. Transfer to ski aircraft and continue to Vinson Base Camp at 6,900 ft (2100m) on the Branscomb Glacier.
We will ascend Vinson using the "standard route"Â. This usually takes from 5-9 days depending on weather conditions and how quickly team members acclimatize. Most groups set two intermediate camps on the mountain prior to attempting the summit. Our rate of ascent and daily climbing plan will be set by our guide to reflect mountain realities and group strengths and will be geared toward the safety and success of our climb. Our climb will be a team effort with each person carrying his or her own personal equipment as well as a share of group gear, food and fuel. At the end of each day, team members will help pitch camp.
Day 2 Acclimatization and Preparations
This is a day to relax and recover after several days of travel. In the quiet surroundings of Vinson Base Camp we can appreciate the beauty of Antarctica while preparing for our climb. We will load our sleds for the days ahead and, if time allows, we will take a short hike to gain familiarity with the Antarctic environment and to refine our clothing and equipment choices for the climb.
Day 3-4 Vinson Base Camp to Low Camp
2,150 ft (650 m) of elevation gain, 5.5 miles (9 km) of distance, 4-6 hours travel
From Vinson Base Camp to Low Camp we follow the gradual rise of the Branscomb Glacier. The gentle climb is ideal for pulling sleds allowing us to lighten the loads in our packs. Due to crevasse hazard, we will travel roped together today and throughout our time on the mountain. At Low Camp (elevation 9,000 ft / 2,750 m) the guides build a cooking/dining shelter for our group. Depending on conditions, we may overnight here or cache equipment and return to Vinson Base Camp. The following day we will re-ascend from Vinson Base Camp, acclimatize at Low Camp, or continue our climb up the mountain.
Day 5 - 7 Low to High Camp
3,350 ft (1,020 m) of elevation gain, fixed ropes on slopes up to 45ÃÂ°, approximately 6-8 hours travel
We ascend to High Camp (12,400 ft/3,770 m) when conditions are suitable and the forecast indicates stable weather ahead. We may carry all of our equipment in one push, or we may choose a "load carry", over-nighting back at Low Camp and re-ascending the next day with lighter loads. These choices will depend on weather and group fitness.
Our route takes us up the broad mixed spur at the northern end of the Branscomb Ridge, offering fantastic views of Mount Shinn and the glaciers below. We ascend fixed ropes on snow slopes up to 35/40Â°. Snow conditions can vary from soft to hard and windblown with icy patches. From the top of the fixed lines to High Camp takes about 1.5 hours, ascending the gentle snow slopes of the summit glacier. This section of the route can be very exposed to the wind, requiring care to prevent cold injury.
The facilities at High Camp are more basic than at camps below. We cook and eat simple, dehydrated meals in our tents, or outside if the weather is calm. Our next day is normally spent resting and acclimatizing at High Camp to give everyone the best chance of summiting.
Day 8 - 9 High Camp to Vinson Summit
Return trip from High Camp - 3,670 ft (1,120 m) elevation gain, 9 miles (14 km) distance, 9-12 hours travel
We make our summit attempt on the best weather day possible as the route is exposed and subject to high winds. The majority of the route is along the Vinson summit valley, with a short, steeper snow and ice slope leading to the spectacular, rocky, summit ridge. The views from the summit are breathtaking. Mount Gardner, Tyree, Epperly and Shinn dominate the foreground, surrounded by impressive peaks that rise from the vast ice sheet below. Here, at the top of Antarctica, the true scale and majesty of the continent are overwhelmingly apparent. We will take time to savor the experience and take photos, before retracing our steps to High Camp.
Day 10 Descent to Vinson Base Camp
The descent to Vinson Base Camp is usually achieved in one day from High Camp, re-tracing our route down the fixed ropes and along the Branscomb Glacier. At Vinson Base Camp we celebrate our summit with a hearty meal and a toast to our team.
Day 11 Return to Union Glacier Camp
Return to Union Glacier by ski aircraft. At Union Glacier Camp you will enjoy meals prepared by our professional chefs served in our dining tent. There will be opportunities to meet and trade stories with other adventurers and, if conditions allow, to climb and explore the scenic peaks nearby camp.
Day 12* Return to Punta Arenas, Chile
The aircraft from Punta Arenas will arrive with a new collection of avid explorers and you depart for the final leg of your Antarctic experience. Our staff will meet you at Punta Arenas airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Prices, Departures and Inclusions
This trip can run as a group trip, with prices starting from $40,700 per person for a complete group. If you are looking to join a group or you are a solo traveller we will help to form likeminded groups of travellers. Please let us know your travel plans.
The trip can also run on a private basis to fit around your plans. Departures may be tailored and can be set up on a date of your choice. Please note that there is a higher price for smaller groups. Please enquire for further details.
No two Antarctic experiences are exactly the same. This is part of the excitement and adventure of Antarctic travel. The itinerary above highlights typical activities and experiences. Exact timeline and details will vary from trip to trip. Trip length may vary by departure.
Please anticipate delays and do not plan anything for at least a week after your scheduled return. Allow yourself to enjoy this unique experience without the stress of pending commitments.
- Transfers to and from Punta Arenas airport, Chile
- Briefing with refreshments in Punta Arenas one day prior to departure
- Round trip flights from Punta Arenas to Antarctica
- All flights within Antarctica as shown in your itinerary
- Meals and accommodation while in Antarctica
- Expedition Guide(s) (and naturalist or lecturer on some Experiences)
- Use of recreational equipment at Union Glacier Camp
- Official and personalised ANI Certificate of Achievement
- A Baggage allowance of up to 55lbs (25kg) on Punta Arenas-Union Glacier flight
- Group climbing equipment
- Commercial flights to and from Punta Arenas
- Flights within Antarctica, other than those shown in itinerary
- Meals and accommodation in Punta Arenas
- Airport transfers other than in Punta Arenas
- Personal equipment and clothing (polar clothing is available for rent from ANI for some Experiences)
- Expenses incurred in Punta Arenas due to delays
- Any excess baggage costs over confirmed baggage allowance
- Cost for the use of satellite phone whilst in Antarctica
- Insurance coverage - personal, medical, evacuation or otherwise