Shop for Vinson Massif

Located in the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains about 1,200 kilometers from the South Pole, Vinson is the tallest mountain in Antarctica standing at 16,050 feet. In 1966, Barry Corbet, John Evans, Bill Long and Pete Schoening became the first to reach the summit as part of a 10-person American expedition. Mount Vinson is the coldest of all seven summits with average summer temperatures of about -20 degrees F.

The following gear list is approved by our partner Rainier Mountaineering Inc. for its guided climbs of Vinson Massif

MEN WOMEN
  • Pack and Bag

  • (2) Duffel Bag A 120+ liter bag made of tough material with rugged zippers.

  • Backpack An 80-90 liter pack is the recommended size for this climb. Your pack must be large enough for your layers, climbing gear, and food, as well as a portion of your tent and group load (kitchen equipment). A separate summit pack isn't necessary.

  • Sleeping Bag A bag rated to -20° to -40° F. Either goose down or synthetic, with ample room for movement. Most guides prefer down, because it is lightweight and compactable. A waterproof bag is preferred, but not mandatory. The temperature rating system for sleeping bags is arbitrary and is not a guarantee of warmth. Base your selection on how well you do in the cold. If you tend to sleep on the cold side, choose a bag rated on the lower end of the temperature range. Using two sleeping bags together is not recommended.

  • Compression Stuff Sack for Sleeping Bag

  • Sleeping Pad - Inflatable A full-length inflatable pad.

  • Sleeping Pad - Closed Foam A full-length or 3/4 length closed cell foam pad.

  • Technical Gear

  • Ice Axe The length of your axe depends on your height. Use the following general mountaineering formula: up to 5'8", use a 65 cm. axe; 5'8" to 6'2", use a 70 cm. axe; and taller, use a 75 cm. axe. If you hold the axe so that it hangs comfortably at your side, the spike of the axe should still be a few inches above the ground.

  • Climbing Harness We recommend a comfortable, adjustable alpine climbing harness. Removable, drop seat or adjustable leg loops are convenient for managing your clothing layers over the course of the climb and facilitate going to the bathroom.

  • (2) Triple-Action Locking Carabiners Used for clipping into the climbing rope.

  • (3) Non-Locking Carabiners Used for pack ditch loop, etc.

  • Helmet A UIAA (Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme) or CE (European Committee for Standardization) certified climbing helmet. Bicycle or ski helmets are designed for a different type of impact and will not substitute as a climbing helmet.

  • Crampons The 10 to 12 point adjustable crampons designed for general mountaineering are ideal. Rigid frame crampons designed for technical ice climbing are not recommended.

  • Avalanche Transceiver A digital transceiver is preferred; analog will work as well.

  • Trekking Poles Lightweight and collapsible poles are preferred. Larger baskets work well with deep snow. Ski poles will also work.

  • Mechanical Ascender For traveling on fixed ropes. Most people prefer an ascender designed for their weak hand, leaving their right hand free to hold their ice axe. For example, a right-handed person would use a left-handed ascender.

  • Accessory Cord 15' of 7 mm cordelette in one continuous length. Two 6' lengths of 6mm cordelette. Three 5' lengths of 6mm cordelette.

  • Head

  • Warm Hat Wool or synthetic. It should be warm and thin enough to fit underneath a climbing helmet.

  • Buff / Neck Gaiter / Balaclava One item for face protection is required. Our primary recommendation is the Buff. A neck gaiter or balaclava is also acceptable.

  • Ball Cap or Sun Hat A lightweight ball cap or sun hat.

  • Face Mask

  • (2) Glacier Glasses A pair of dark-lensed sunglasses with side shields or full wrap-type sunglasses. Almost all sunglasses block UV-A, UV-B and Infrared rays adequately. Pay attention to the Visible Light transmission. The darkest lenses (glacier glasses) only allow approx. 6% visible light to get through, while lighter lenses (driving glasses) let in as much as 20+ %. A good rule of thumb is that if you can see the wearer’s pupils through the lenses, they are too light for sun protection at altitude.

  • Goggles Amber or rose-tinted goggles for adverse weather. Additionally, contact lens wearers may find a clear-lensed goggle very useful on windy nights.

  • Hands

  • Heavy Weight Glove Wind/water resistant, insulated gloves for protection against wind, snow and cold. These also serve as emergency back-ups if you drop or lose a glove.

  • Heavy Weight Mitten Wind/water resistant, insulated mittens for protection against wind, snow and cold.

  • Work Glove Medium weight insulated gloves for climbing and working around camp. These should be both durable and dexterous enough to allow you to perform activities like setting up or taking down tents while wearing them.

  • Down Insulation

  • Down Suit An 8,000-meter down parka with attached hood.

  • Upper Body

  • Light to Medium Weight Baselayer Long-sleeve wool or synthetic top. Quarter zip styles will allow for better temperature regulation. We recommend light colors, which best reflect the intense sun on hot days.

  • Heavy Weight Base Layer One long-sleeve heavy weight top.

  • Insulating Layer - Lightweight A fleece or other insulation layer.

  • Insulating Layer - Medium Weight A softshell, down sweater or other insulation layer.

  • Rain Shell Jacket A jacket made of rain-proof material with an attached hood. We recommend a thinner lightweight jacket rather than a heavier insulated jacket

  • Lower Body

  • Underwear Non-cotton boxers or briefs.

  • Light to Medium Weight Base Layer Light to medium weight wool or synthetic bottoms.

  • Climbing Pant Soft-shell climbing pants offer a wide range of versatility. You can wear them in combination with the base layer on colder days, or alone on warmer days.

  • Rain Shell Pant A pant made of breathable rain and wind-proof material will be needed. Full-length side zippers are required for facilitating quick clothing adjustments over boots and crampons in cold, inclement weather.

  • Feet

  • Mountaineerineering Boots A new breed of composite boot like the Olympus Mons or an expedition-style plastic double boot in combination with a full overboot is mandatory. Price is the best indicator. Though expensive, the function of footwear is of crucial importance. Select a brand's "top of the line" model and it should be sufficient for Mount Vinson. The boot needs to be roomy enough to allow for good circulation. Anticipate a sock combination when sizing them (single sock, liner and sock, or two heavy socks on each foot). Wear the boots as often as possible before the climb, to determine proper fit, comfort and performance. It is recommended that you keep your boots in your carry-on luggage for all of your commercial flights in case your luggage is mis-directed.

  • Overboots Expedition overboots add significant warmth, especially at high altitude. All-in-one mountaineering boots do not need the added insulation of overboots.

  • Lightweight Hiking Shoe Great for travel, day hikes, and camp.

  • Booties Goose down or synthetic fill. Booties can be worn inside of the overboots while walking around camp, which allows an opportunity to dry out inner boots.

  • Gaiters A knee-length pair of gaiters, large enough to fit over your mountaineering boots, will be needed for protection from snow, mud, and catching your crampons on loose clothing. These are not necessary with all-in-one boot / gaiter models.

  • (4) Socks Either wool or synthetic. Whatever sock combination you are accustomed to wearing during your training or previous adventures (whether single medium weight socks, a medium weight with a liner sock, two medium weight socks together, etc), should work just fine for this climb.

  • Miscellaneous Items

  • Lip Balm SPF 15 or higher.

  • Sunscreen SPF 15 or higher.

  • (2) Water Bottles

  • Insulated Water Bottle Cover These help prevent liquids from freezing. It should completely cover the bottle.

  • Ear Plugs

  • Toothpaste

  • Baby Wipes

  • Hand Sanitizer

  • Toilet Paper

  • Bowl

  • Insulated Mug

  • Spoon or Spork

  • Pocketknife