The Alpine Ascents Difference on Vinson
Alpine Ascents has had 100% success on all of our trips over the past four seasons! Congrats to the climbing teams putting us at over 97% success since 1992!
Alpine Ascents is unique in its ability to provide expert mountain skills and training for future trips as an integral part of the Mt. Vinson program. While we highly recommend using a mountaineering outfitter to lead your Vinson climb (not a company that simply hires mountaineering guides), we feel that Alpine Ascents puts unequivocal skill and training into each Vinson expedition. Guides like famed Arctic climber Vern Tejas and Himalaya veteran Ben Jones are scheduled to lead our 2019/20 season.
Antarctica is basically another planet and so much has to go right to make this expedition a reality— weather, logistics, unforeseen circumstances. This expedition went flawlessly. Alpine Ascents has considered every single detail and executed the trip beautifully. —2019 Climber
During our Vinson program, you can expect guiding of the utmost quality and 10–12 hours of training from our mountaineering experts. As a guide company, we are committed to a high level of customer satisfaction as we hope that climbers will choose to join Alpine Ascents on adventures for years to come. We train out clients in important climbing skills such as knots, pulley theory, snow anchors, z pulley systems, crevasse rescue, sled rigging, rope travel, and tent technology. On Day 3 of the climb, we spend a couple of hours learning how to ascend and descend the fixed lines we will use on the following day.
Alpine Ascents on Vinson
Since beginning our commercial expeditions in 1992 (yes, there were some commercial flights back then), Alpine Ascents has led climbs and cultivated practices and new partners. We have developed logistics, climbing routes, camps, and communication protocols that have helped facilitate our high (nearly 100%) summit and safety record. While extra days on the mountain and satellite phones have become standard practice in the industry, the expedition experience we offer on Vinson is unsurpassed. Our ability to lead several trips per season puts us in position to adjust to changing conditions and to draw on resources that a single-guide, single-expedition can’t. We encourage you to ask questions of Alpine Ascents and other guide services before embarking on an expedition of this magnitude and expense.
Key Elements of our Climb and Success
We have been guiding Vinson since 1990.
Scheduled guides for 2019 season are Himalayan and Antarctic experts Vern Tejas, and Ben Jones are scheduled to lead. We have likely put more climbers on Vinson than any other guide service. We are a Seven Summit company, guiding great peaks around the world, not simply hiring guides to run a onetime expedition.
We look to support everyone in reaching the summit while providing training throughout the expedition. We are committed to our climbers beyond the Vinson climb.
Experienced lead guides stationed on the continent understand current mountain conditions and can determinde when conditions require flexibility in the itinerary. Alpine Ascents is known worldwide for the unparalleled quality of its guide staff. While many other outfitters are little more than a one-man show, our trips are led by professional guide staff who are mountaineers with diverse skills. We also have full-time office support to help with logistics and access to information for other great climbs around the world. Our guides are teachers willing to share their breadth of knowledge. We are a full-service mountain guide company and handpick our guides for each expedition. Some outfitters on Mt. Vinson just hire guides as seasonal employees, and are not mountaineering organizations.
Typically we have 100% success in taking expeditions to the summit, with over 90% of climbers summiting. In recent years our success rate has been as follows: 100% in 2015/2016, 95% in 2014/2015, 96% success in 2013/14, 100% in 2011/12 and 2012/13 (with 100% success on our Ski the Last Degree Team, which reached the South Pole). The 2010/11 and 2009/10 seasons both had 100% expedition success. 2008 was a stellar year, with three full teams and 100% success among 33 climbers (plus our fabulous guides). Since 1990 we have had over a 95% summit-success rate on our Mt. Vinson expedition.
We always have staff in Punta Arenas during the season, whether it be a guide or logistics manager. We offer 24-hour contact with our office and a staff that has worked with climbers in arctic environments for 20 years. We promise you a quick and honest response to your questions.
- Small climber-to-guide ratios of 5:1 or less
- Alpine Ascents staff member/guide assisting climbers in Punta Arenas
- Carefully composed menus based on more than 20 years of experience
- Ability to proactively deal with flight changes while still in Antarctica
Alpine Ascents is one of the few outfitters allowed to cache gear at Vinson Base Camp, low camp, and High Camp, and thus we have a full set of cook wear, stoves, tents, and climbing equipment. This greatly reduces the pack weight (now 40 lbs.) climbers need to carry.
We offer several departures each season. With guides stationed in the Antarctic, we are able to adjust the climbing schedule to changing mountain conditions.
We had a great climb and were blessed with some really good weather. The food and planning worked out well along the way. All the camps were set up with gear which minimised the need to carry a lot of extra stuff – a real strength for AAI.