Be among the few to have climbed Antarctica’s highest volcano and one of the Volcanic Seven Summits. Join the ultimate mountaineering expedition to Mount Sidley (4285m / 14,058 ft) and stand atop one of the most remote summits on earth.
Sidley is a huge mountain, set on the white expanse of the Polar Ice Sheet. This majestic peak features a 3 mi (5 km) wide caldera and sheer-walled amphitheater, created by an explosive eruption 4.7 million years ago. Blue-ice slopes guard the upper mountain and fantastical snow mushrooms sprout along the upper ridge, leading to the summit.
Mount Sidley was first climbed in 1990 by New Zealander Bill Atkinson.
Day 1: Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile. Our guide will meet you upon arrival at the airport and take you to our hotel. After settling in, we will conduct a thorough equipment check, and then have a group dinner at one of the many fine restaurants.
Day 2: After breakfast, we attend a pre-flight briefing with our flight operator, and discuss many aspects of the journey to Antarctica. In the afternoon we send our duffel bags to the airport to be checked and packed for departure. We have the late afternoon and evening to explore the city.
Day 3: Depart for Antarctica. We fly approximately 5 hours over the Drake Passage and land at Union Glacier camp. We generally spend 1-2 nights at this camp.
Day 4: Review rope travel, Ice axe arrest, and crevasse rescue techniques.
Day 5: Fly to Mount Sidley base camp, establish base camp.
Days 6-12: Climbing period. Mount Sidley has been climbed by fewer than 10 teams and there is still opportunity for exploring new routes. The mountain offers several interesting options, including a longer, easy ascent from the north side and a steeper climb up the west ridge from the Bennett Saddle. Your guide will assess the options and decide on a route based on the group’s skill and experience.
From base camp to the summit of Mount Sidley involves approximately 7300 ft (2225 m) of elevation gain. You’ll climb alpine-style, setting intermediate camps on the mountain, and carrying all of your food and equipment with you. Although you may use skis lower down on the mountain, 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 you follow up the summit ridge along the rim of the caldera. The walls of the Weiss Amphitheater drop steeply away below you and neighboring Mount Waesche may tempt you with its snowy slopes.
As you make your way to the summit ridge, you’ll weave your way between a fantastical maze of snow mushrooms. These massive snow features are formed by wind and moisture depositing rime ice on small obstacles over time.
Following the summit, you’ll return to your high camp, then retrace your steps back to base camp.
Day 13: Fly back to Union Glacier Camp this day.
Day 14: Fly from Union Glacier Camp to Punta Arenas
Day 15: Depart Punta Arenas for home.
Days 16-18: Extra days in case of bad weather or flight delays.
Mount Sidley 2021 Departures:
January – to be announced
• Round trip flights from Punta Arenas to Antarctica
• All flights within Antarctica to reach Mount Sidley base camp and back
• All accommodation and services while in Antarctica
• All meals in Antarctica
• All team equipment (tents, ropes, cooking equipment, etc.)
• All communications equipment such as VHF radios and satellite phone
• Guide service fees
• Daily weather forecasting during the climb
Costs Do Not Include:
• Bank transfer fees, if needed
• Accommodation and meals in Punta Arenas
• Personal items (see equipment list)
• Medical and Evacuation Insurance (required)
• Trip cancellation insurance (highly recommended)
• Any charges incurred that are beyond the control of Madison Mountaineering, LLC
• All prices and program dates are subject to change
Mt. Sidley Cancellation and Refund Policy:
Each deposit includes a $5,000 non-refundable registration fee that secures your flight reservation to Antarctica. A full refund, minus the registration fee will be provided if a refund request is made in writing and received by our office 120 days before the program begins. No refunds will be provided from the 120-day period leading up to the start of the expedition.
• Ice Axe: General mountaineering tool (65cm)
• Crampons: General mountaineering crampons
Ascender: 1 right or left hand ascender (Petzel brand is best)
• Alpine Climbing Harness: A mountaineering harness, with adjustable leg loops. Not a rock climbing “sport” harness.
• Carabineers: 3 locking and 3 regular
• Accessory Cord: 40′ of 5mm accessory cord for rigging your harness and prussiks.
• Rappel device: ATC or figure 8
• Mountaineering boots: La Sportiva Olympus Mons, Millet Everest, etc. A ‘triple’ boot system is preferred to keep your feet warm.
• Gaiters: If you are not using a triple boot system (recommended above), then plan to bring gaiters.
• Overboots: If you are not using a triple boot system, please bring neoprene overboots to provide additional warmth for your feet.
• Booties: Optional, down is best.
• Wool or synthetic socks: 3 pair
• Liner socks: 3 pair
• Synthetic Short underwear: A non cotton style underwear.
• Lightweight Long Underwear: 2-3 pair long sleeve shirt and long pants
• Heavyweight long underwear: 1 pair
• Short Sleeve Synthetic Shirt: 1-2 pair
• Soft Shell jacket: To be worn over other layers
• Soft Shell Pants: Very breathable and water repellant
• Hard Shell Jacket with hood: A waterproof and breathable shell jacket
• Hard Shell Pants: Waterproof and breathable shell pants
• Heavyweight Insulated Down Jacket with hood: 800+ fill
• Insulated synthetic Pants: 800+ fill
• Warm Hat: Synthetic or wool hat (ski hat).
• Balaclava: to protect your neck and face in high winds.
• Facemask: Optional, neoprene is best.
• Baseball Cap or other sun hat: To shade your face / neck from the sun on a hot day.
• Bandana or Buff: To protect your neck / face from the sun.
• Balaclava: To protect your face & neck from the wind/cold
• Glacier glasses: Full protection with side covers or wrap around.
• Ski goggles: To be worn on summit day in the event of high winds.
• Lightweight synthetic liner gloves: For wearing on a hot day.
• Soft shell gloves: To wear for moderate cold / wind.
• Shell glove with insulated liner: To wear for severe cold / strong wind.
• Expedition Mitts: Large enough to fit a liner glove inside.
• Expedition Backpack: 65L pack should be large enough.
• Sleeping Bag: Rated to at least -40°F. Goose down or synthetic.
• Compression stuff sacks: For reducing volume of the sleeping bag, down parka, etc., in your pack.
• Self inflating sleeping pad: Full length is preferred.
• Closed cell foam pad: To be used in conjunction with the inflating pad for warmth and comfort when sleeping.
• Trekking poles with snow baskets: Adjustable poles
• Cup: A plastic 16 oz. minimum cup or mug
• Bowl: A large plastic bowl for eating dinner or breakfast out of
• Spoon: Plastic spoon (lexan)
• Sunscreen: SPF 50 or better
• Lip screen: SPF 30 or better (2 sticks).
• Water bottles: 2 or 3 wide mouth bottles with 1 liter capacity.
• Water bottle parkas (2): fully insulated with zip opening.
• Thermos: 1 liter
• Pee bottle: 1 liter minimum bottle for convenience at night in the tent.
• Toiletry bag: Include toilet paper and hand sanitizer
• Hand warmers & toe warmers: 3 sets of each.
• Knife or multi tool (optional).
• Trash compactor bags: to line back pack and stuff sacks as well as for separating gear.
• Camera: bring extra batteries and memory cards.
• Travel Clothes: For days in Punta Arenas.
• Duffel bags (2) with locks: To transport equipment.
• Base Camp Items: Kindle, iPad, smart phone, etc.
• Snack food: Please bring a week’s supply of your favorite climbing snack food such as bars, gels, nuts, beef jerky, etc. A variety of salty and sweet is good. Please be advised that some foods are not allowed into Chile.
• Small personal first aid kit: Include athletic tape, band aids, Ibuprofen, blister care, personal medications, etc.
Madison Mountaineering is recognized for well thought out strategy in high altitude climbing expeditions, as well as high-quality service throughout. Because we have two decades of experience in the planning and coordination of mountaineering expeditions, our reputation is excellent. We strive to make each expedition the best possible experience for our climbers and focus on our 3 primary goals of success in reaching the summit, returning safely, and having fun!
Our guides are some of the best and most experienced in the industry, having a strong grasp of technical climbing, expedition, and high altitude experience, along with strong interpersonal skills. Our teams are small and equipped with the best support available to ensure the highest chance of success. We are renowned for our comfortable base camps, high-quality food, first-rate communications, and medical support services, all of which are overseen by a professional member of our team.
Most of our climbers have either climbed with us before, been referred by a friend who has climbed with us, or met one of our teams while attempting another peak and decided to join us for their next expedition. We work hard to facilitate safe, successful, and enjoyable expeditions for all of our climbers. Our track record and past climber testimonials prove we are not only experts in our field, but we also love what we do!