In the world of alpine climbing, there is no destination quite so revered, nor so challenging as Antarctica. This wild continent is subject to extreme conditions that only the most resilient of explorers can endure, while having a natural beauty that surpasses all expectations.
If you’re a climber, you can experience a taste of this magical world for yourself with our Antarctic mountaineering activity. To inspire you, we’re looking at some of the polar region’s historic ascents and the climbers who’ve shaped its history.
The highest Peak in Antarctica, Mount Vinson in the Sentinel Range is a legendary summit, reaching some 4,897 metres in height. It was the last of the seven summits to be discovered, and was named for American Congressman Carl Vinson, an advocate for US funding of Antarctic exploration.
The first ascent took place relatively recently in 1966, when a group from the American Alpine Club made the first organised ascent, led by Nicholas B. Clinch.
This peak is actually an active volcano – the southernmost active volcano in the world. At 3,794 metres elevation, it isn’t Antarctica’s highest volcano, but it has certainly played a role in the shaping of the region’s history.
Sir Ernest Shackleton’s party was the first to ascend Erebus in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1985 that the first solo ascent was made by British climber Roger Mear.
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The highest peak on the Antarctic Peninsula, Mount Jackson was first climbed by Scottish mountaineer John Cunningham in 1964. Cunningham led a team from the British Antarctic Survey to the summit of this 3,184-metre peak in the Welch Mountain Range.
Bertha’s Tower, Queen Maud Land
One of the more recent Antarctic first ascents took place in 2012, when a group of four explorers set out to climb Bertha’s Tower. Located in the wilds of Queen Maud land, Freddie Wilkinson, Mike Libecki, Keith Ladzinski, and Cory Richards set their sights on this 600-metre tall granite tower. Battered by the relentless Antarctic conditions, the team managed to summit the tower in the space of 30 days.
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Phil Wickens first ascents
British mountaineer Phil Wickens was no stranger to Antarctica when led an expedition of the Alpine Club in 2010. Sailing across Drake’s Passage on the yacht Spirit of Sydney, the group proceeded to make six first ascents of Antarctica’s unclimbed mountains. This included Mount Nygren (1,454 m) and Mount Inverleith (2,038m).
If you’re a climbing enthusiast and you’ve got the icy peaks of Antarctica on your mountaineering bucket list, book your next adventure with Aurora Expeditions today. Our optional climbing activity is led by our experienced guides who have been leading expeditions in this area for over 10 years.
Routes range from easy to moderate difficulty, varying in duration from 4-10 hours. Please note that this activity is not for beginners, and you’ll need to be experienced with an ice axe and crampons. To find out if you are suitable for this exciting activity, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Aurora Expeditions.