“[Antarctica] is as close as you will ever get to another planet without leaving this one. —Phil Ershler, director, International Mountain Guides

Vinson Massif  Fast Facts

  1.   On July 21, 1983, the Soviet Station Vostok recorded a record low temperature of -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit (-89 ̊c).
  2.   Antarctica is the continent with the highest average height: 6100feet(1860m).
  3.   Antarctica is the driest continent on earth, getting less than 1 inch (2.5cm) of rain per year in the interior. Some areas are said to have not received precipitation for two million years.
  4.   The coldest month’s average temperature is -40 degrees Fahrenheit to -90 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 ̊c to -68 ̊c); the warmest is -31degrees Fahrenheit to 5 degrees Fahrenheit (-35 ̊c to -15 ̊ c).
  5.   Antarctica’s ice sheet is the biggest body of fresh water on earth, containing 68 percent of the world’s fresh water and 90 percent of the world’s ice.
  6.   If the Antarctic ice sheet were to melt, it would raise Earth’s oceans by 180 feet (55m).
  7.   At its thickest, Antarctica’s ice sheet is 16,000 feet (4880m).

Altitude: 16,050 feet (4892m)

Summit GPS Waypoints: S7831.088, W8537.585

Elevation Gain: (base camp to summit) 9160 feet (2792m)

Distance: (base camp to summit) 11.8 miles (19km)

Difficulty Ratings: Technical: 3, Physical: 3

Time: (door to door) 16 days

Season: mid-November – end of January



Antarctica is truly the last frontier. This continent, a mass of rock and ice covering 5,405,400 square miles (14 million sq km) of area, including the South Pole, is larger than Europe. Antarctica has no government, no permanent population, is not ruled by any one country, and is the only continent without an indigenous population. The landmass is controlled under the Antarctic Treaty, signed in 1959 and in force as of 1962. Antarctica is a desert that mainly consists of ice. It also has the distinction of being the highest continent, as defined by overall average height of the surface, due to the thick ice layer covering all land except for the tallest mountain ranges. It, of course, is the coldest continent on Earth.

Other Activities:

Visiting Penguin Colonies, Trekking in Torres del Paine National Park, Fly Fishing for brown trout and salmon,