Aerial View of Union Glacier Camp in Southern Ellsworth Mountains

Garrett Madison and our first Mt. Vinson expedition team arrived safely to Union Glacier Camp in the southern Ellsworth Mountains of Antarctica.  They have been enjoying beautiful clear and calm skies in 24 hours of daylight.  Tents are up, food is excellent and the team is happily enjoying exploring the comforts of the camp.

Weather conditions at Union Glacier have vastly improved.  So the team is looking forward to flying on to Vinson Base Camp tomorrow or possibly even tonight.  Our two following teams are optimistically looking for minimal delays too.

Did you know:  Union Glacier Camp is the only facility of its kind in Antarctica. The full-service private camp operates during the Antarctic summer (November through January) and is dismantled at the end of each season. The camp not only provides accommodations to guests on guided experiences but also serves as a logistics hub, supporting private expeditions and National Antarctic Programs.

(photo:  © Russ Hepburn)

Best Christmas

Garrett and team are striking their happy poses because our first of three Vinson expeditions was rewarded for their patience with the best Christmas present ever:  a GO! for the flight from Punta Arenas, Chile to Union Glacier, Antarctica.

After eight days waiting for the weather at Union Glacier, the team is now headed to the airport to board the Ilyushin IL-76 TD jet for the 4-1/2 hour flight.  The extra time in Punta Arenas gave the team the opportunity to fully explore the many restaurants and cultural sights.  Somewhere along the way, they even rubbed the toe of Magellan for good luck.

It’s looking like this change in the weather will allow the schedules to start to return to normalcy.  Our second team is arriving in Punta Arenas this week.  They are scheduled to fly on to Union Glacier on January 3rd.  Some of the team may take advantage of the extra time in Chile to explore Patagonia’s Torres del Paine national park – named by National Geographic as one of the World’s most beautiful places.  Kind of a nice bonus!

Get ready to follow the action-packed Antarctica climbing season.  Stay up to date by subscribing to the dispatch updates.

Happy holidays and joyous wishes to you and yours from Madison Mountaineering!

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering archives)

Vinson climbing team!

Our first Mount Vinson expedition team is standing by in Punta Arenas, Chile, waiting for good weather to fly to Antarctica.

Currently, the winds on the Blue Ice Runway at Union Glacier camp are too strong for a safe landing.  So we have to wait until conditions improve before we can take off.  The climbers are all packed up and ready to go.

In the meantime, we are passing the time by enjoying the many nice Punta Arenas restaurants, museums and local experiences.  We hope to have a good weather window in the next 2 – 3 days for our flight to Antarctica.

Did you knowMount Vinson is named for Georgia Congressman Carl Vinson, the former Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

This week we are kicking-off the first of our three expeditions to Antarctica, the ‘Frozen Continent’, this season!

We are excited to be leading climbers on their quest for Mount Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica, at just over 4850m / 16,000 ft. and one of the ‘Seven Summits‘!

Follow us as we begin our journey in Punta Arenas, the Southern most city in Chile located on the Strait of Magellan, to Union Glacier camp in Antarctica then on to Mount Vinson Base Camp.  Mount Vinson is the most remote of the Seven Summits and one of the least climbed.  It is however, arguably the most beautiful.  The peak is surrounded by Antarctica’s pristine ice for as far as the eye can see.  We are excited to ‘hit-the-ice’ again this year.  We hope that you will follow along with our expedition dispatches and perhaps be inspired to join us next year!

(photo: Madison Mountaineering archives)