Mount Sidley, Antarctica’s highest volcano accessible to climbers

Posted: Oct 14, 2014 12:05 pm EDT

 

(By Correne Coetzer) Mount Sidley, the highest volcano in Antarctica, is now accessible through ANI for a wildly remote and interesting adventure to one of the remotest mountains on Earth, Steve Jones from ANI/ALE told ExplorersWeb.

 

While Mount Vinson, Antarctica’s highest mountain at 16,050 ft (4,892 m), forms part of the Seven Summits challenge to many climbers, Sidley, at 14,058 ft (4,285 m), forms part of the Volcanic Seven Summits (the seven highest volcanos on the seven continents.)

 

ExplorersWeb wanted to know from Steve Jones how these two mountains compare: 

 

"Mount Sidley base camp is a 975 km flight from Union Glacier, Vinson Base Camp is 150 km away from Union Glacier. So Mount Sidley is far more remote.”

 

"On Mount Vinson there is an established and manned base camp, a VHF radio network, established fixed camp-sites, fixed lines/ fixed ropes on the steep terrain between low camp and high camp, rescue and emergency caches, ANI mountaineering rangers and other climbing parties on the mountain. On Mount Sidley there is nothing, just an aircraft and aircrew camped at the bottom of the mountain awaiting the climbers return."

 

“In terms of climbing, a strong party could pioneer its own route on Mount Sidley, or follow one of the routes taken in the last few years. There are steeper sections, but nothing as steep as the fixed lines on Mount Vinson. High on Mount Sidley there are extraordinary snow formations and snow mushrooms that are probably formed by damp air blowing in from the coast being lifted to altitude by the topography and then freezing into weird formations."

 

"I used to say that Mount Vinson is the remotest regularly climbed mountain on Earth, but that surely is now Mount Sidley,” Steve added.

 

"An expedition to Mount Sidley arrives at the foot of the mountain with a modest amount of prior knowledge and finds its own route up the lower slopes towards one of the ridges leading to the summit. Every step and every route finding decision is on pristine snow, there is no path to follow, no marker wands to guide you, no footprints to follow. Like Vinson this is hard work carrying your tent, food, stove and fuel with you, but at the end of a day's ascent it is up to the guide to find a safe place to set up camp, there is not an established camp to aim for. It is remote expeditionary mountaineering and a great adventure.”

 

The mostly-snow-covered peak features a 3 mile (5 km) wide caldera and sheer walled amphitheater, created by an explosive eruption 4.7 million years ago, explains ANI on their website. Mount Sidley was first climbed in 1990 by New Zealander Bill Atkinson and saw its second ascent in 2010 by an ANI guided party of four. The ANI team established a new route up the east ridge and traversed all three summits. Other interesting routes have yet to be climbed.

 

Space is still available for the December 18-29, 2014 climb. Read more here on ANI’s website about the Dates and Rates, Itinerary, Requirements, and more. 

 

 

ANI is also now offering the best of both adventure tourism experiences with the Emperors and Explorers experience. This combines a visit and camp at an Emperor Penguin rookery with a flight to the South Pole. Full details on the website at www.adventure-network.com

 

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#polar #antarctica #sidley

 

 

 

Steve Jones: "In terms of climbing, a strong party could pioneer its own route on Mount Sidley, or follow one of the routes taken in the last few years."
courtesy Adventure Network International (ANI), SOURCE
Sidley's lower slopes.
courtesy Adventure Network International (ANI), SOURCE
Steve Jones: "at the end of a day's ascent it is up to the guide to find a safe place to set up camp, there is not an established camp to aim for."
courtesy Adventure Network International (ANI), SOURCE
Steve: "High on Mount Sidley there are extraordinary snow formations and snow mushrooms that are probably formed by damp air blowing in from the coast being lifted to altitude by the topography and then freezing into weird formations."
courtesy Adventure Network International (ANI), SOURCE
Sidley's summit and caldera
courtesy Adventure Network International (ANI), SOURCE
Returning to Base Camp, with the Basler BT-67 waiting to fly the climbers back to Union Glacier (ANI/ALE BC on Antarctica).
courtesy Adventure Network International (ANI), SOURCE
Route on Sidley.
courtesy Adventure Network International (ANI), SOURCE