Antarctica, Mount Sidley Expedition (4285m)
Do you dream of the unexplored and crave the extraordinary? This is the ultimate mountaineering expedition to Mount Sidley 14,058 ft (4285m), Antarcticaâ€™s highest volcano. The majestic, mostly-snow-covered peak features a 3 mile (5km) wide caldera and spectacular, sheer walled amphitheater, created by an explosive eruption 4.7 million years ago. Blue ice slopes guard the upper mountain and fantastical snow â€˜mushroomsâ€™ create an elaborate maze leading to the summit. Mount Sidleyâ€™s spectacular and remote setting, exploratory climbing, and its status as one of the Volcanic Seven Summits make it a â€˜must doâ€™ for adventurous mountaineers.
Below you'll find a list of upcoming expeditions, with the number of places still available, the total cost and the deposit required to secure a place. Should no expeditions be available, please contact us to see what we can do for you. Bespoke personally tailored expeditions can also be accommodated.
Sorry, there are currently no upcoming dates with spaces available for this expedition, but we're probably arranging another as you read this. Please get in touch to discuss your requirements
Requirements & Technicality
Our Photographer And Photography
Ascent Explorers photographer joins us on many of our UK tours and training programs to capture group images through the program duration. A selection of images are shared on social media sites such as Facebook (please inform us if you individually prefer this not to happen) Digital copies, prints are available upon request.
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MOUNT SIDLEY ClimbÂ Antarcticaâ€™sÂ highestÂ volcano,Â oneÂ ofÂ TheÂ VolcanicÂ SevenÂ Summits
Arrival in Punta Arenas
Please arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile two full days prior to your scheduled departure date for Antarctica. An Ascent Explorers representative will meet you at Punta Arenas airport and transfer you to your hotel. Flight Preparations This will be the trip of a lifetime and we want to ensure that you are well prepared to enjoy it to the fullest. We will agree a time to check your Antarctic clothing to ensure nothing has been inadvertently forgotten. We also ask that you attend an Antarctic briefing where we will explain environmental and safety procedures, departure logistics, and what to expect on your arrival in Antarctica. The briefing will be followed by refreshments and there will be time to ask any questions you may have and get to know your fellow travelers. We will collect your checked baggage and load the aircraft one day prior to your scheduled departureâ€”ready for an early start the following day.
Day 1 Fly to Antarctica We will call you at your hotel in the morning to advise you of current conditions in Antarctica. If the weather is suitable for our Antarctic flight, we will pick you up at your hotel by bus. At Punta Arenas airport we board our private transport jet for the 4 1/4 hour flight to Antarctica. Our route crosses
the Drake Passage, then follows the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the spine of the Ellsworth Mountains. We land on a natural ice runway on Union Glacier. And here you take your first steps in Antarctica. Climb aboard one of our specially- adapted 4×4 vans for the 5 mile (8 km) shuttle to our main camp where a hot meal awaits. Our friendly staff will provide a welcome briefing and show you to your sleeping accommodation.
Days 2-3 Expedition Preparations Our expedition team will meet in the morning to review logistics with our guide, then will begin expedition preparations. Mount Sidley lies in the Executive Committee Range about 550 miles (885km) from ANIâ€™s camp. We will spend a couple of days climbing small peaks near Union Glacier Camp to acclimatize to Antarctic conditions, get to know our team, and fine tune our mountaineering skills before setting off for this extremely remote destination.
Day 4 Fly to Mount Sidley Today, weather permitting, we fly to Mount Sidley. The flight takes about five hours over the vast emptiness of West Antarctica. Our ski aircraft lands near Mount Sidley and we establish base camp at approximately 6700 ft (2042m), below the imposing bulk of the mountain.
Days 5-9 The Ascent Mount Sidley has had a limited number of ascents and the opportunity for exploration and new routes is wide open. The mountain offers several interesting route options, including a longer, easy ascent from the north side and a steeper climb up the west ridge from the Bennett Saddle. The route that we climb will be decided by our team and guide, based on the group’s skill and experience. From base camp to the summit of Mount Sidley involves approximately 7300 ft (2225m) of elevation gain. We climb alpine style, setting intermediate camps on the mountain and carrying all of our food and equipment with us. We may ski to low camp, but most of the climb will be done with crampons. The slopes of the mountain are wind- blown, with hard packed snow and
sections of blue ice. Gentle slopes near the base give way to steeper terrain higher up. Summit day offers spectacular views as we follow the summit ridge along the rim of the caldera. Below us the sheer walls of the Weiss Amphitheater drop away 4000 ft (1200m) and neighboring Mount Waesche tempts us with its snowy slopes. We weave our way between a maze of fantastical snow ‘mushrooms’. These snow features are formed by wind and moisture depositing rime ice on small obstacles, over the years evolving into massive structures. Following our summit we return to high camp, then retrace our steps back to our base camp.
Days 10-11 Weather Days Optional ascent of Mount Waesche or some of the other satellite peaks in the area, if time and weather allow. These days also provide a buffer in case delays getting to, or climbing the mountain. Day 12 Return to Union Glacier We pack up and fly back to Union Glacier, where a celebration meal awaits and we settle back into the comfort of camp. Day 13* Return to Punta Arenas The aircraft from Punta Arenas will arrive with a new collection of avid explorers and you depart for the final leg of your journey. Our AE staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Day 12 Return to Union Glacier We pack up and fly back to Union Glacier, where a celebration meal awaits and we settle back into the comfort of camp. Day 13* Return to Punta Arenas The aircraft from Punta Arenas will arrive with a new collection of avid explorers and you depart for the final leg of your journey. Our ANI staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Day 12 Return to Union Glacier We pack up and fly back to Union Glacier, where a celebration meal awaits and we settle back into the comfort of camp.
Day 13* Return to Punta Arenas The aircraft from Punta Arenas will arrive with a new collection of avid explorers and you depart for the final leg of your journey. Our ANI staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Fact File: Highest volcano in Antarctica Height: 14,058 ft (4285m)
Location: 77″ 02S 126″ 06W
Discovered Nov 18, 1934 by Admiral Richard Byrd on an airplane flight First
Recorded Ascent: Jan. 11, 1990. Bill Atkinson (NZ), while working in support of a USAP scientific field party Highest of five extinct volcanoes that comprise the Executive Committee Range
Flights & Travel Information
Ascent Explorers understands what adventure travel is all about, which is why we are proud to partner with a specialist team of travel consultants for great deals on flights to all destinations.
We work hard to bring you the best flight routes and tickets, accommodation, travel passes, tours, volunteer placements - the works. Quite simply Ascent is your travel agency; you can shoot any question to our dedicated travel manager and we'll be sure to steer you in the right direction. Along with all the advice that we can offer; there are a few other reasons to book with us:
To book your flights or to discuss your requirements, please call our dedicated flight account manager, Ellie Gilmore on 0808 260 9953
- Unrivalled product knowledge and expertise.
- Passionate about travel – we will do everything they can to create your perfect travel experience.
- We promise to offer you the best airfare solution to suit your needs.
- 24 hour emergency assistance helpline.
- Access to 'Travel Butler', a service which offers you support whilst you are travelling by providing:
- One point of contact – we provide your very own Personal Travel Advisor wherever you may be.
- Free help and advice on ticket date and reschedule changes (free of charge revalidation of ticket where possible).
- Part of a $12billion organisation that offers you security and utilises global buying power to save you money.
- MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS:Boots fall into two categories, traditional double boots and boot systems with integrated gaiters. The goal is to have warm, comfortable feet! Try on a variety of boots as they all fit differently and get the one that fits well. Triple Boots: La Sportiva OLYMPUS MONS EVO, Scarpa PHANTOM 8000, Lowa EXPEDITION 8000, Boreal G1 EXPEDITION Double Boots: La Sportiva BARUNTSE or SPANTIK, Scarpa INVERNO with High Altitude Liners or Intuition Denali Liners, Boreal G1 LITE** All double boots need overboots and most ikely, gaiters- Triple Boots do not necessarily need them
- OVERBOOTS: Neoprene overboots such as 40 Below Purple Haze are best. OR and Wild Country insulated Overboots work well if they fit with your crampons. Supergaiters alone are not warm enough for Vinson.
- GAITERS: Full height, such as Black Diamond GTX Frontpoint Gaiter or Outdoor Research “Crocodiles.” Full coverage “Supergaiters” work great as well. Do you really need these? Call us to find out!
- BOOTIES: Synthetic or down fill booties. These are great for camp and tent comfort and allow you extra opportunity to dry out your mountain boots. They also help keep feet warm at night. Cut out an extra insole from some foam for additional warmth.
CLOTHING Your clothing layers for Vinson basically consist of five layers for your torso and four for your legs. Additional layers are optional and should be selected based on personal levels of hygiene or comfort.
- BASE LAYER TOP: A synthetic top such as Mid-Weight Capilene from Patagonia. The new Merino wool options are really nice as well.
- LIGHT FLEECE TOP:This should be made from 100 weight or Powerstretch fleece. A zip t-neck is essential for ventilating. Guides’ Pick: Patagonia R1 Flash Top or R1 Hoody.
- SHELL JACKET: This should be large enough to go over your base and expedition weight clothing layers. This does not need to be the burliest Gore-Tex pieces you can find! Many people are climbing Vinson using lightweight, windproof, water resistant shells.
- PRIMALOFT or similar “PUFFY” JACKET:The “puffy” type jackets are arguably better than fleece as they are lighter and more windproof and can be thrown on over your shell jacket at rest stops. Guides’ Choice: Patagonia Micro-Puff Jacket (with hood).
- EXPEDITION PARKA (WITH HOOD):Patagonia, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear and The North Face all make good parkas, but our Guides’ Pick is the Patagonia Down Parka. There are some synthetic options such as the Patagonia D.A.S. Parka and the Wild Things Belay Jacket, however; down is recommended as it is lighter and less bulky.
- REGULAR UNDERWEAR:One or two changes. Look for synthetics such as Patagonia Capilene.
- BASE LAYER: 1 pair of synthetic top and bottoms such as Mid-Weight Capilene from Patagonia. The new Merino wool options are really nice as well.
- LIGHT FLEECE PANTS: made from 100 weight or Powerstretch fleece. Guides’ Choice: Patagonia R1 or Wool 4 Pants.
- STRETCH WOVEN PANTS: Once considered optional, this “Soft Shell” layer is great due to the broad comfort range they provide. Often pants made of Schoeller Dynamic or similar fabrics can be worn all the way to High Camp in lieu of less breathable Shell pants. Guides’ Pick: Arcteryx Gamma MX pants or Patagonia Winter Guide Pants.
- SHELL PANTS: Light weight windproof pants with side zips. Just like your Shell Jacket, these do not need to be super tough. Your primary benefit from this layer is wind protection.
- INSULATED PANTS: This layer must have side zippers and needs to be either “Puffy” synthetic or down pants like the Patagonia Micro Puff Pant or Feathered Friends Volant Pants. These need to fit over your Shell pants for easy and quick layer changes.
Hands, Feet and Head
- SOCKS: 3+ sets of wool or synthetic medium/heavy weight socks. Make certain your socks fit with your boots!
- LIGHT GLOVES: “Soft Shell” Gloves work better than fleece. Guides’ Pick: Outdoor Research Vert Gloves
- INSULATED GLOVES: Warm, insulated gloves are the workhorse on Vinson. Gloves with a Goretex liner are best and our Guides’ Pick, Black Diamond Guide Gloves also have removable liners for ease of drying. Please do not skimp on gloves; purchase the best, warmest ones you can find.
- SUMMIT MITTENS: Thick, warm, non-constricting mittens made of pile, Primaloft or down. Guides’ Pick: Outdoor Research Alti Mitts. They aren’t cheap, but are extremely warm. Just divide the cost by your 10 fingers and they are a bargain!
- WARM HAT: One warm hat or two hats of different weights. Wool or pile is fine. Your hat must provide ear protection. If you bring two, the second could be a balaclava.
- FACE MASK: Neoprene or Windstopper work well.
- BUFF: Buff is the brand name of a lightweight, synthetic, long neck gaiter that can be worn as a hat, scarf, balaclava or headband. This is an exceptionally useful piece of clothing.
- SUN HAT: Baseball type or wide brimmed sun hat for the intense sunshine of the southern latitudes. You can combine a baseball hat with a bandana for good sun protection
- HAND WARMERS: Bring 8+ sets of disposable hand warmers as insurance.
- GLACIER GLASSES: They must have side protection and filter 100% UVA and UVB rays.
- SKI GOGGLES: Double lens, full UV protected goggles. The cheap ones tend to fog up.
- EXPEDITION PACK: (5500+ cu in. or 85+ Liters) You’ll need a large pack in order to carry your gear, plus group food & equipment. Our current favorites are the Mountain Hardwear BMG abnd the Osprey Aether 85. Both are light and fairly simple packs, which we like.
- DAY PACK: A small day pack is nice for the flight to Antarctica. (Optional)
- LARGE ZIPPERED DUFFELS: Two large duffels for transporting gear on sleds and for use as gear storage back in Punta Arenas.
- EXPEDITION SLEEPING BAG: (Rated to at least 40 below.) Marmot Cwm, Mt Hardwear 5th Dimension and The North Face Darkstar are all great bags. Which to choose, down or synthetic? Down is lighter and less bulky, but cost a lot more. Synthetic bags are getting much better, but down is a better choice. Guides’ Pick: Feathered Friends Snowy Owl. You might only use it in Antarctica, but you’ll be warm.
- COMPRESSION STUFF SACK: Outdoor Research makes some nice, new lightweight sacks. Essential for sleeping bags and one is recommended for your summit clothes, such as your parka, mitts and warmest pants.
- 2 SLEEPING PADS: You need two pads, with one being a closed cell pad such as a Ridge Rest or a Karrimat and the other an inflatable pad. The new Exped down-filled air mattresses work great if you practice inflating them before your trip. Guides’ Pick: Exped 9 full length paired with a Ridge Rest Deluxe. (Contact us for tips on having success with the Exped pads).
TECHNICAL CLIMBING EQUIPMENT
- ICE AXE: (with leash.) 70-80 cm length works well for Vinson Guides’ Pick: Black Diamond Raven Pro.
- CRAMPONS: We recommend 12 point crampons that fit your boots and overboots, if you will be using them. Step in or strap versions work equally well, just make sure step-in versions fit with your overboots.
- HARNESS: Adjustable leg loops are required. The Black Diamond Blizzard or the even lighter Couloir harness are both lightweight and functional.
- PRUSSIKS: Bring one 6mm prussik loop, which can be paired with your ascender for glacier travel.
- CARABINERS:Bring two large locking carabiners and five regular carabiners. Bent-gate biners are very sexy, but are not appropriate for this expedition, so leave them at home with your neon lycra sport-climbing tights. Mark them with colored tape for identification. Guides’ Pick: Black Diamond Neutrinos are very lightweight.
- ASCENDER: There is about 900m of fixed line leading to high camp, so you will need a handled ascender such as the Petxl Ascension to negotiate the route.
- PERLON CORD: 60 feet of 5 mm for sled and pack tie offs and rigging your ascender.
- SKI POLES: Adjustable, 3-section ski poles work best for traveling. Make certain they have broad, “powder” baskets. Black Diamond Flick Lock poles are recommended as they are less prone to spontaneously collapsing. Three section poles travel more easily than two section versions.
ESSENTIAL PERSONAL ITEMS
- STUFF BAGS (for your own items)
- (2)ONE QT. WIDE MOUTH WATER BOTTLES
- INSULATED COVER (for each water bottle).
- LARGE PLASTIC CUP OR BOWL for eating (2-4 cup measuring bowl or Rubbermaid storage bowl work fine)
- INSULATED CUP 12 or 16 ounce plastic cup for hot drinks
- LARGE PLASTIC (LEXAN) SPOON
- 2 SMALL LIP BALMS (WITH 30+SPF): Two small tubes are easier to keep from freezing than one big tube.
- SUN SCREEN 3-4 OUNCES- Three to four small tubes work better than one large tube which could feeze solid.
- TOILET PAPER: 1 or 2 rolls, depending on your technique
- TOILET KIT (Tooth brush & paste, floss, Handi-wipes, hand sanitizer… keep it small)
- P-BOTTLE Wide-mouth, collapsible Nalgene Cantenes work great- they make a 96 ounce version! Ladies- look for an appropriate adapter available at your local outdoors store. These items are both tough to find in Anchorage so plan ahead!
- EARPLUGS for the flight and for windy camps
- PERSONAL MEDICAL KIT (Blister kit, aspirin, antacids, lozenges, Ibuprofen). PLEASE CONTACT YOUR PERSONAL PHYSICIAN FOR A LIST OF APPROPRIATE PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS. Mountain Trip will have a very comprehensive medical kit.
- CAMERA, with lots of film or digital and no film
- BOOK(s)for storm day reading and for keeping sane in the event we get stuck at Patriot Hills waiting for a flight
- JOURNAL & PENCIL
- ALTIMETER WATCH
- FOOT POWDER
- NECK GAITOR
- SPARE SUN GLASSES
- PERSONAL MUSIC PLAYER (CD, MINI DISC, MP3 PLAYER, ETC with extra batteries)
Make sure your gear works for you! Try everything out before you leave home. Vinson base camp is not the place to discover that your boots are too small or that your pack is not the right size.
**Fly with your boots and glacier glasses in your carry-on. Just in case.
Prices, Booking and Terms & Conditions
The total cost for this expedition is £
and a deposit of £
is required to secure your place.
For further information concerning our Terms and Conditions, bookings and cancellations, please refer to our Terms and Conditions page
(Opens in new window).
Need help? Call: 0208 500 3323 or 07967 589289 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm GMT)
Participation & Accuracy Statement
Ascent Explorers recognises that climbing, hill walking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.
Although it is our intention to operate this itinerary as printed, it may be necessary to make some changes as a result of flight schedules, climatic conditions, limitations of infrastructure or other operational factors. As a consequence, the order or location of overnight stops and the duration of the day may vary from those outlined. You should be aware that some events are beyond our control and we would ask for your patience.
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