... In the vast emptiness of Antarctica
An expedition to the remotest place on earth.
Extreme weather conditions, however, without great technical difficulties.
Stunning and unforgettable landscape.
Mount Vinson - one of the “Seven Summits“
Since 2000, Kobler & Partner has organised successful expeditions to Mount Vinson.
Kobler & Partner enjoys the coveted „Preferred Guiding Company“ status at ANI.
Antarctica is the most remote, coldest, driest, windiest and least developed continent in the world. It’s basically the most extreme of the seven contintents. The Antarctic continent covers a surface area of about 14 million square kilometres, which is approximately a tenth of the entire land mass of the earth. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages 1.9 km in thickness.
Mount Vinson (4,892 m) is the highest mountain of Antarctica making it one of the Seven Summits. Mount Vinson is located in the Sentinel Range which lies in the west of Antarctica. It has a northwest to southeast orientation, is about 185 km long and 50 km wide and is surrounded by massive glaciers. It is home to the five highest mountains of Antarctica.
Mount Vinson was only discovered in January 1958 during a flight of the US-Air Force over the Sentinel Range. The first ascent followed eight years later on 17 December 1966 which makes Mount Vinson the last of the Seven Summits to be climbed.
The challenges of the ascent are not primarily due to technical difficulties, they are mainly due to the extreme cold and regular storms as well as its very remote location. The mountain it is only 1,200 km away from the South Pole.
The starting point for all expeditions is the Union Glacier Base Camp, which is about 80km away from the foot of the mountain. The camp is established every year for the Antarctica Season which only lasts four months. It is located approximately 3,030 km away from the South American continent and is located at the foot of the Siefker Ridge, a rutted, eleven-kilometres long mountain ridge.
Day 1 - Day 2: Flight to Punta Arenas
Flight via Santiago to Punta Arenas, the southernmost city of Chile. Depending on your connections, the flight from Europe to Punta Arenas takes between 24 and 30 hours.
The leading mountain guide will travel to Punta Arenas a few days beforehand to make all the necessary preparations and pick us up from the airport. The group will then drive together to a good and centrally located hotel in the southernmost city of Chile.
Day 3: Punta Arenas
Today we will do our last preparations as well as the expedition briefing, which will gear us up for the peculiarities of the flight to Antarctica. The briefing will give us enough information to make sure we know what to expect during our trip.
Day 4: Flight to Union Glacier
Finally the adventure begins! We board an Ilyushin plane that takes us to the Union Glacier Camp, which take about 5 hours. The flight and the ensuing landing on ice is unique and very spectacular.
The Union Glacier Camp is located at approximately 800 metres above sea level. The camp is one of three bases on Antarctica that are not located on the coast. The other two are the American Amundsen-Scott Station at the South Pole and the Russian Wostock Station at the cold pole. From this point, nighttime darkness will be a thing of the past as we are exposed to the eternal midnight sun!
Day 5: Union Glacier - Vinson Massif
From the Union Glacier Camp we continue our journey with a Twin Otter or Cessna to Vinson Base Camp at 2,134m. The flight, which offers a wonderful view of the entire Vinson Massif that sprawls over 13km, takes about 40 minutes.
Day 6 - Day 14: Mount Vinson
We will spend the following nine days to climb Mount Vinson. We need to establish two high camps. The first camp is at approximately 2,800 m, the second camp is at about 3,780 m - at least that’s the plan. The crux of the climb lies between the high camps, where we have to negotiate a pillar which is secured with fixed ropes.
During the entire ascent we are surrounded by the grandiose mountain scenery of the Ellsworth Mountains.If you haven’t noticed the uniqueness of this expedition by now, you will certainly do so during the ascent.
Depending on how many days we need, the return to the Glacier Union Base Camp can take place somewhat earlier or later.
Day 15: Flight to Punta Arenas
Today, we will return to civilisation. The Ilyushin takes us back to Punta Arenas. After all the hardships of the past few days, we will certainly enjoy the hotel and all its amenities.
Tonight’s dinner will be a feast!
Day 16 - Day 17: Punta Arenas (Spare Days)
The flight to and from the Union Glacier Camp depends on the weather, hence we have included some spare days in the itinerary
If the return flight from Antarctica to Punta Arenas takes place according to schedule, we have the option to go on many interesting excursions, like for example a visit to the nearby located penguinery or to the Paine National Park.
Day 18 - Day 19: Return Flight from Punta Arenas
The flight back home from Punta Arenas has to be undertaken individually. Our mountain guide stays behind in Punta Arenas in order to re-establish the equipment. On the 19th day we stand once again on familiar ground back home, with the knowledge that we have experienced something very special.
The Profilcheck is an integral part of our detailed expedition programme. Please read it thoroughly and assess your skills and physical condition. Due to the score required for this expedition, your score will indicate whether or not your skills, fitness and mountaineering experience are sufficient to join this expedition. Your registration is a testimony of your physical and technical abilities to participate in this expedition.
Please take note of the following points concerning the procedure of this expedition:
- The expedition is demanding and exhausting.
- The members do not have to be “super alpinists”, however, they should have a certain amount of high altitude mountaineering experience. The members should be able to move in independent rope parties on the mountain. Active participation, camaraderie and tolerance are of great importance to us.
- You have to be able to recognise your own limits on the mountain and be prepared to, if necessary, abandon the attempt and turn back. You join this expedition at your own responsibility.
- The leader of the expedition is responsible for the management of the entire group, and personal support is not one of his/her responsibilities. Nevertheless, every member has to prepared to follow the decisions made by the expedition leader. The decisions are always made in the group’s interest.
- Depending on the circumstances on site improvisations and changes to the itinerary might be necessary.
- Kobler & Partner does not take any liability for accidents, damage or loss of equipment..
- Organisation of the entire expedition
- Pre-expedition briefing at Bächli Bergsport, including a 10%-voucher for equipment purchase
- Flight Punta Arenas - Union Glacier and back
- Flight Union Glacier - Vinson Base Camp and back
- All formalities, fees and permits
- All transfers; bus and jeep rides in country according to the programme
- Overnight stays in **** hotel in Punta Arenas in twin rooms (2 nights before departure flight)
- Accommodation in 2-person tents (type North Face VE25)
- Half board during the 2 days in Punta Arenas (before the flight to Antarctica)
- Full board during the time in Antarctica (Union Glacier Camp and Vinson Base Camp with fresh food and special high camp rations in the camps)
- Quality fresh food in Vinson Base Camp
- Large group tent at Vinson Base Camp (owned by Kobler & Partner)
- Powerful Colemann stove and cookware for Vinson Base Camp
- High altitude stove and cookware (MSR petrol stove) for high camp
- Necessary group equipment such as sledges, firn anchors, security material
- Necessary fixed ropes
- Shovels, snow saws, probes for setting up camps
- Large medical kit with pulse oximeter at Base Camp
- Emergency nedical kit at the high camps
- (emergency) medicinal support at the Union Glacier Camp
- Special, powerful radios (1 radio per rope party)
- Satellite phone, excluding taxes
- Experienced nationally certified expedition mountain guide
- Flight to Punta Arenas and back (flights from Europe can be booked via Kobler & Partner)
- Insurances (pls refer to “Insurances“)
- Individual beverages in Punta Arenas
- Additional overnight stays in Punta Arenas due to weather conditions
- Personal medication
- In case no roommate can be found for a booked double room, we charge half of the single room surcharge (see Additional Costs)
- Surcharges that may arise due to changes being made to the itinerary
- Personal emergency travel insurance with a minimum value of USD 150,000 which is obligatory for travelling to Antarctica
Kobler & Partner was one of the first European tour operators, who succesfully organized expeditions to Mount Vinson. Due to the long-term, fruitful cooperation with ANI, Kobler & Partner enjoys the „Preferred Guiding Company Status“.
An expedition to Antarctica is something special. It is subject to certain rules as nowhere in the world are the climatic circumstances more extreme than there. For this reason, an itinerary only provides the outlines of a trip. Longer waiting times due to bad weather happen frequently which can put the patience of every individual to the test. Our 12-day-window (from/to Punto Arenas) gives us plenty of time to climb Mt. Vinson. If we decide to extend the expedition due to bad weather, problems with our transport, medical emergencies or other eventualities, the ensuing costs are to be coveredy by the members.
The Antarctic continent is a climatic extreme case in every possible way. It is not only the coldest but also the driest as well as the windiest corner of the world. The annual average temperature is -55°C. The monthly average temperatures vary quite a bit due to the length of the days. During the Polar Night in winter, the sun does not shine at all while during the Antarctic summer, the sun shines for 24 hours a day. The warmest months are December and January. At the time when our expedition takes place we have to expect temperatures of around -40°C. The average annual precipitation is around 40 l/m2 inland. According to precipitation oriented definitions, Antarctica is considered a desert - and not just any desert, but the biggest desert on earth! The South Pole position and the constant down draughts that blow from the Polar plateau to the coast do not only affect the continent but also the Antarctic Ocean: In July 1972, the Dumont d’Urveille Station measured a wind speed of 327 km/h (91 m/s).
First Come, First Fly
First come, first fly - this saying certainly proves right in Antarctica.
Connecting flights from the Union Glacier Camp to Mount Vinson depend on when the respective payments have been received. Kobler & Partner guarantees a quick payment process. Due to administrative reasons, early registration is necessary.
Please note that this Kobler & Partner travel offer has special cancellation fees
- Up to 120 days before the beginning of the trip - 20%
- From 119 to 90 days before the beginning of the trip - 60%
- From 89 days before the beginning of the trip - 100%
- At registration: USD 5,000.- (not refundable)
- 30 June: USD 25,000.-
- 15 August: final payment (depends on number of members)
In Punta Arenas, we stay in double rooms at the classic and centrally located Hotel Isla Rey Jorge. Its central location makes it the perfect place to hang out in Punta Arenas. During our time in the Union Glacier Camp, we have a dining and a mess tent. At Vinson base camp, Kobler & Partner has its own spacious mess tent where we will cook together.
The international flight to Punta Arenas is not included in the expedition price.
Kobler & Partner is happy to help you book a flight from/to Europe. Your mountain guide will meet you at the airport in Punta Arenas.
No visa is required for Chile as well as Antarctica.
Please make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended return.
Equipment List Mt.Vinson
- Down Jacket or Down Suit for expeditions
- Primaloft Jacket or light Down Jacket
- Gore-Tex Jacket
- Soft-Shell Jacket
- Fleece Sweater or Fleece Jacket
- Trekking Trousers, light and long
- Soft-Shell Pant, warm
- Gore-Tex Trousers
- Down trousers or Down Suit
Underwear / T-Shirts
- Thermal-, resp. Functional Shirt, long sleeves
- Thermal-, resp. Functional trousers, long
- Full-fingered gloves, warm
- Down Mittens for expeditions
- Liner Gloves, thin, silk or fleece
- Comfortable Shoes (Running Shoes for Punta Arenas)
- Trekking Boots
- Expedition Boots, 8.000er model
- Trekking Socks
- Mountain Socks, thick and warm
- Down Sleeping Bag ( -40°C)
- Iso-Mat, high degree of insulation
- Foam Iso-Mat
- Down Camp Booty (nice to have)
- Pillow case (filled with the down jacket to serve as pillow)
Head-, Face- and Eye-Protection
- Glacier Sunglasses (with nose-protection if possible)
- Ski Goggles, high UV-protection (also protects from the wind)
- Baseball Cap
- Beanie, warm
- Balaclava or Face-Mask (wind-stopper or neoprene)
- Sunscreen, SPF 50
- Lip-protection, SPF 50
- Backpack approximately 60 l
- Rain cover for the backpack
- Climbing Harness, light
- Ice Axe, light
- Walking Poles
- Crampons with anti ball plates (customised to fit expedition boots)
- 2 Carabiners (light, wire gate)
- 3 HMS Carabiners (light, screwgate)
- Ascender (Jumar)
- Descender (Figure of 8 recommended)
- Cord, 5m, 7 mm (for the Jumar system)
- Cord, 5m, 5 mm
- Sling 120 cm / Dyneema
- 1 Ice Screw (19 cm)
- Compression Bags for down equipment
- Food Utensils, light, for the high camps (bowl including cutlery)
- Drinking Bottle with large opening (Nalgene)
- Thermos Bottle
- Pee Bottle / Plastic Bags
- Headlamp (including spare batteries) and including a small spare headlamp
- Pocket knife or Multitool/Leatherman
- Thermal pads for hands and feet
- Departure letter by K&P (contains the final information)
- 2 Duffel Bags 110 l (waterproof, available at K&P at a discount price for guests)
- Cash for personal use and tips
- Credit card (MasterCard or Visa)
- Copy of the passport
- 2 Passport photographs
- Small travelling pharmacy (personal medication / compeed)
- Writing utensils
- Toilet case, washbag
- Towel (microfibre cloth)
- Hand disinfectant (50 ml)
- Tissues, Wet Wipes
- Photographic equipment
Expedition pharmacy, radios, GPS, travelling literature and maps are carried by your Kobler & Partner mountain guide.
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