Seven Summits: Vinson Massif

Vinson Massif Ink Art

A Formidable Challenge

The "Seven Summits" are the seven highest mountains in each of the world's seven continents. Climbing all seven peaks is regarded in mountaineering circles as a formidable achievement. The first person to climb all of the Seven Summits was American businessman, rancher and mountaineer Richard Bass, who achieved this in 1985.

Although lists differ slightly as to which mountains make up the Seven Summits (due to controversies over the boundaries of the various continents), they all include seven of the following ten mountains.

Vinson Massif
Puncak Jaya
Mount Kosciuszko
Mont Blanc
Mount Wilhelm

What Do You Know? 

But what do you know about these seven mountains that make up the Seven Summits? In a series of articles called "Seven Summits", I want to explore these beautiful, enigmatic, and sometimes dangerous mountains. First up - 10 facts about the highest mountain in Antarctica - Vinson Massif!

1) Land of Mystery

Although as early as Ptolemy there had been speculation about the existence of a southern continent, Antarctica, or the South Pole, was not actually reached by people until 1911, when Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his team arrived on its shores.

2) Found in the Fifties

Vinson Massif was discovered in Antarctica in 1958 by U.S. Navy aircraft.

3) A Fitting Tribute

It was named Vinson Massif in 1961 by the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (an American advisory committee responsible for recommending names for features in Antarctica). It was named after Carl G. Vinson, a congressman from the state of Georgia, to honour his support for Antarctic exploration.

4) Shout Out To The Massif!

a massif is a section of the earth's crust that is demarcated by faults. As the Earth's crust moves, a massif will generally retain its structure while moving as a whole. The term also refers to a group of mountains formed by such a structure.

5) King of the South

Mount Vinson is the highest peak in Antarctica, at 4,892 metres (16,050 ft).

6) Clinched It!

Vinson Massif was first climbed in 1966 by an American team led by American mountain climber, lawyer and author Nicholas Clinch.

7) Antarctic Adventures

As of February 2010, 1,400 people have journeyed to the South Pole and attempted to climb Mount Vinson.

8) A Long Day

During the summer (which in the Southern Hemisphere falls from November through January) there are 24 hours of sunlight! The average temperature during these months is -30 °C!

9) Spot On

An Omega Foundation expedition in 2001 took GPS measurements of the height of the peak. These highly accurate measurements found Mount Vinson to be 4,892 metres (16,050 ft) high.

10) Antarctic Conditions

The climate on Mount Vinson is generally controlled by the polar ice cap's high-pressure system, which generally creates stable conditions. However, as in any polar climate, there is always the danger of high winds and snowfall. Although the annual snowfall on Mount Vinson is quite low, strong winds can cause accumulations of snow at base camp of up to 46 centimetres in a year.

Bonus: Seven Summits Wall Art

For adventurers, the Vinson Massif is one of the most alluring and enigmatic locations in the world. Along with the other Seven Summits it offers a challenge that many climbers find hard to resist. With our Seven Summits HAND DRAWN posters we hope to inspire people to be adventurous and rise to their own challenges. Check out our Seven Summits Wall Art Collection and let us know what you think!



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