Alpine Ascents Vinson Maps & Facts
Map of Vinson and Antarctica.
It was nearly 200 years after James Cook circumnavigated Antarctica that the summit of Mt. Vinson was reached (1966). It was the last of the seven summits to be conquered. The American Alpine Club and the National Geographic Society sponsored an American team which summitted Mt. Vinson two weeks after their arrival, on December 17, 1966. The team, led by Nicholas B. Clinch, remained about a month on the continent and summited a number of peaks including the extremely technical Tyree as well as Shinn and Gardner. (This expedition is well documented in the June 1967 National Geographic Magazine.) Soon after their return, US policy encouraging travel to Antarctica was changed to discourage travel to this region.
Antarctica in Brief
With 5.5 million square miles of solid ice, the mass of this continent, twice the size of Australia, creates a remote wilderness unrivaled on the planet. While the size of the continent expands and contracts with seasons, the topography remains stunning with natural sculptures finely crafted by the barrage of wind, snow and cold. It is this ice age environment which constantly attracts intrepid travelers and explorers. While Antarctica has no native population, Emilio Palma (Argentinean) was the first to be born on the continent in January 1978. The lowest temperature recorded by a thermomenter on Earth was -128.6ºF at Vostok Research Station on July 21, 1983. Though not considered 'official', a NASA satellite measured a temperature of -135.3 degrees in east Antarctica in 2010. With less than 2 inches of precipitation per year, Antarctica is best characterized as a desert. Antarctica currently has a number of permanent research stations supported by several cooperating nations.
The Name Vinson
Vinson was named for Congressman Carl G. Vinson of Georgia, who was influential in promoting Antarctic exploration from 1935–1961. Lincoln Ellsworth, who made a number of flights across Antarctica between 1934-1939, named the Ellsworth Range, on which Vinson stands. Discovered on November 23, 1935, the Ellsworth Range was not re-visited until the 1960’s.