Tag Archive for: Union Glacier

Union Glacier Camp

Garrett and our first Mount Vinson team for the season have arrived at Union Glacier camp, Antarctica and are looking forward to flying on to Mount Vinson base camp today:

Hello, this is Garrett Madison calling in for the Mount Vinson team #1. We have arrived at Union Glacier camp! We got in about 1:00 AM today, Saturday December 21st. We’re really happy to get out of Punta Arenas and had a smooth flight to Antarctica and landing at Union Glacier camp.


We got in, had a nice meal and set up our tents and now we are all tucked in and looking forward to a good sleep and having breakfast tomorrow at 9:00 AM. Hopefully the weather will be good tomorrow and we can fly over to Vinson base. We’ll check in soon, thanks!

(photo:  Linda Wohlgemuth from the Madison Mountaineering archives)

By the way, it’s not too early to start making your plans to join us on Mount Vinson for the 2020/2021 season next December!  Contact our office for details.

In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow the teams as they make their attempts to summit the highest mountain in Antarctica on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates


– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking maps:

The Madison Mountaineering Polar Explorer’s Mount Vinson expedition team have now arrived back to Union Glacier Camp in Antarctica. With foggy conditions at Vinson base camp it took a couple days to safely land the inbound plane and pick up our climbers. Plan is to enjoy the next couple days at Union Glacier Camp with very comfortable accommodations, hot showers, three hot meals a day and many fun outdoor activities. The Union Glacier Camp is the only private seasonally occupied camp site located in Ellsworth Land in Antarctica. The camp is located in the Heritage Range, below the Ellsworth Mountains, on Union Glacier. All is well and our team will check in once back in Punta Arenas, Chile!

Stay tuned as we gear up for the 2018 Everest and Lhotse expedition! We are excited to return to the Nepalese Himalayas in early June with a strong team of international climbers this season.


Audio dispatch from Garrett Madison


Mountaineering Polar

Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd are safely off Mt. Vinson and arrived in Union Glacier Camp after a quick ride on a Twin Otter today. It is located in the Heritage Range in the Ellsworth Mountains, on Union Glacier. Today they descended from Camp 2 to Vinson Base Camp after the weather conditions improved. After the flight to Union Glacier Camp the team enjoyed a nice warm dinner. The camp is positioned near Union Glacier Blue-Ice Runway that allows our flight out on a Russian Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft back to Chile. The team is doing really well and enjoyed an extra 4 nights on Mt. Vinson with 5o knot winds and -50 to -70 degree temperatures, but had a fun time staying warm with a complete success on the expedition.

Great job team!


Audio Dispatch from Garrett Madison ~ Thursday December 10


Center of Union Glacier Camp

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Greetings from Mount Vinson Base Camp, Antarctica! Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd have flown safely from Union Glacier Camp to base camp today. The team enjoyed a crystal clear day while preparing their gear for departure. From a Douglas DC3 in Union Glacier Camp, the team made the quick flight to a closer staging area near Vinson Massif. After which they boarded a DHC-6 Twin Otter that transported the team closer to the mountain. The day was sunny and provided spectacular views of the Ellsworth Mountains for our team. Garrett, Mike, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd worked together to build a large snow wall to protect their camp from the expected 50mph winds tomorrow. After setting up camp our team enjoyed a delicious dinner of pork chops and settled in for the night. Tomorrow the team will review rope travel, ice axe arrest, and crevasse rescue techniques in preparation for the next push to Camp 1. Onward!

Audio Dispatch from Garrett Madison ~ Expedition Leader


Our team’s arrival into Union Glacier Camp on the first ever 757. Business class seats all the way to Antarctica! Photo captured by: Adventure Network International.


Union Glacier Camp, Antarctica.

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Beautiful photo on this sunny day!!

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Douglas DC3 at Union Glacier Camp, Antarctica.

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Union Glacier Camp Tent

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Union Glacier Camp with the Ellsworth Mountains behind.

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Gorgeous shot of Union Glacier Camp!!

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Our climbing team preparing for the ascent!

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Visual of Antarctica. North is straight up. Images by Google Earth.

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Visual representation of our climbing team’s flight travels today. Starting below at Union Glacier Camp our team flew up to Vinson Massif base camp. Images by Google Earth.


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Our Vinson Massif climbing team took the first Boeing 757 ride to Union Glacier, Antarctica! This was a huge upgrade in comfort compared to years past in the Ilyushin IL76-TD, we enjoyed business class seating on the way to blue-ice runway in Antarctica. This Boeing 757 flight was taken on to prove the feasibility of landing commercial passenger airliners at Union Glacier, Antarctica. This is a part of a larger project into the use of such aircraft for continued Antarctic operations. We are now preparing our gear and getting ready to fly again tomorrow. We will fly via twin otter aircraft 45 minutes to Vinson Base Camp where be begin our climb.

Check out additional photos of the 757 touching down in Union Glacier here. Our friends at Adventure Network International were able to get some awesome pictures!

For family members and friends ~ Andrew Tierney can be reached during this expedition at andrew@madisonmountaineering.com

Let the journey begin!

Garrett Madison ~ Expedition Leader


Mike,Garrett, Sam, Iñaki, and Todd with boarding passes & penguins at our flight briefing in Punta Arenas. Yes, we are bringing penguins to Antarctica 🙂



Boeing 757-200 ER preparing for takeoff from Punta Arenas!  The landing was a joint partnership between Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions (ALE), Loftleidir Icelandic, and NAS Corporation Limited.



Loading up this Boeing 757-200 ER and heading to Union Glacier! What a ride!!


Madison Mountaineering’s 2015 Mount Vinson climbers are currently enroute to Punta Arenas, Chile! Our journey begins in the Tierra del Fuego or ‘Land of Fire’ in Chile’s southernmost city of Punta Arenas, located on the straight of Magellan. The team will gather together, have a few welcome drinks, and check equipment for before departing on this adventure of a lifetime.

Expedition leader Garrett Madison is preparing final expedition logistics as the team prepares to fly to Antarctica onboard the massive Russian Ilyushin 76 jet that is shown below. Garrett has led 9 successful expeditions to Mt. Vinson over the last 6 years. Each of these 9 climbs was successful in reaching the top of Vinson Massif, the highest point in Antarctica. Madison Mountaineering’s approach to leading small, self sufficient teams allows us the flexibility to adapt to changing conditions in Antarctica and accommodate the needs of our climbers.

Our flight from Punta Arenas to the frozen continent is currently scheduled for November 26th. Photos of Punta Arenas will be up shortly!


The Russian Ilyushin 76 jet that we will fly from Punta Arenas, Chile to Union Glacier, Antarctica!