Antarctica Countdown 46 Days and Counting: Introducing Vinson Massif

Vinson Massif, the highest peak in Antarctica is located at 78°35’S, 85°25’W.  It is truly massive at 21 km long and 13 km wide.  It lies in the central part of the “comma tail” (my description) where the tail meets the circular body of the continent.  Vinson is part of the main ridge of the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth mountains.  It was first climbed in 1966 by an American team.

The most remote of the Seven Summits, Vinson is 4897metres high (16,076 ft).  Rumour has it that Vinson’s summit feels 1000 metres higher than it actually is because of the thinning of the earth’s atmosphere near the poles.  It is located 1000 kilometres from the South Pole.  During the climb, we will have 24 hours of daylight and the average temperature for that time of the year is minus 27 degrees C (temperatures on the summit can be as low as minus 50).

Vinson was named for US Senator, Carl Vinson, who promoted Antarctic exploration.  The exact number is hard to know but it seems approximately 1200 people have summited Vinson Massif since 1966.

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