100% Success for ALE Vinson Climbers
2015 marks another season with 100% success for ALE climbers on Antarctica’s highest peak. 33 ALE guests traveled to Mount Vinson over five departures, from mid-November through late January. All reached the summit, together with a total of 16 ALE guides and rangers, many of whom made multiple ascents. Congratulations to everyone, especially to those climbers who completed their Seven Summits challenge.
Weather conditions were very variable throughout the 10 week climbing season. Unusually severe storms disrupted flight operations throughout the season and there were periods of heavy snowfall and strong, high altitude winds. Accurate weather forecasts, from ALE’s meteorologists, enabled most climbers to reach the summit during periods of stable weather.
The nine guests on our V1 (November 26) departure were the first people to enjoy the extended dining tent at Vinson Base Camp. The kitchen/office area is now 16’ long and the guest dining area is 32’ long and can comfortably seat up to 24 people.
A private group during the V2 (December 7) departure made a rapid 3 day ascent of Mount Vinson before swiftly leaving Antarctica for a similarly fast trip to Aconcagua.
During V3 (December 18) an ALE guided, private group from Russia climbed Mount Vinson and flew to the South Pole, achieving both Antarctica’s highest summit and furthest south.
The excitement on our V4 (December 29 ) departure was a marriage proposal on Vinson summit. On January 5, while standing atop Antarctica’s highest peak, one of our ALE climbers popped the question and the other said ‘Yes!’
January 17 was one of the most successful days in the history of climbing in Antarctica. A total of 45 people, including our V5 (January 9) ALE guided guests, reached Vinson’s summit. Six ALE rangers assisted climbers on the mountain, including a large private group from Canada.
Exceptionally high snowfall during the season gave some good ski conditions close to Vinson Base Camp. Unfortunately, extended periods of poor weather prevented ALE staff and guests enjoying the powder as much as they would have liked.
Why choose ALE as your Vinson Guide?
- Choice of 5 departures, from mid-November through late January
- Some of the world’s most experienced high altitude and Antarctic guides
- Low guiding ratios
- Comfortable Base Camp, with fresh cooked food and the atmosphere of a small alpine hut
- Pre-placed mountain tents and cook shelters at Low Camp and High Camp
- Optional one-to-one guiding and/or pre-expedition training (for an additional fee)
Submitted by: David Hamilton, Mountain Guide and Vinson Base Camp Manager