• Jason Grove
  • Jason Grove
  • Jason Grove
  • Jason Grove
  • Jason Grove
  • Jason Grove

Vinson Massif

Vinson Massif Last Degree South Pole Expedition

Jason GroveThe adventure of climbing Mount Vinson and hiking to the South Pole is partly as a result of my efforts and in part the support I have received from all quarters. The time, energy and thoughts from each of you contributed to the success of the mission and for this you have my resounding thanks.

The list is a long one so forgive me if you are not all mentioned by name. My thanks goes to my trainer Lance Jacobsen who shared many hours of sweat and hard labour; my family and fiancée Ashley who faced demons of their own in worrying about my well-being; the monks at the Johannesburg Meditation Centre who showed me how to access a vital inner strength; all those behind the Peace for Africa movement giving me purpose beyond my personal goals; the leader of the expedition Shawn Disney and Donald O’Connor in achieving a first for the African continent and all the friends and well-wishers.

Many of you visited the website and registered as members...to all of you thanks for this support. Please take one more step now and join the Peace for Africa movement. I believe that what I am trying to express is best said by that famous poet G K Chesterton...”I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

Jason Grove

Vinson MassifVinson Massif

Vinson Massif is the highest mountain of Antarctica, located about 600 miles from the South Pole. The mountain is about 21 km (13 mi) long and 13 km (8 mi) wide.[1] At 4,892 metres (16,050 ft) the highest point is Mount Vinson, which was named in 2006 by US-ACAN.[2] The southern end of the massif ends at Hammer Col, which joins it to the Craddock Massif, of which the highest point is Mount Rutford (4477 m).
The massif lies in the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains, which stand above the Ronne Ice Shelf near the base of the Antarctic Peninsula.
A high mountain, provisionally known as 'Vinson' was long suspected to be in this part of West Antarctica, but it was not actually seen until January 1958, when it was spotted by US Navy aircraft from Byrd Station. It was named after Carl Vinson (also the namesake of an aircraft carrier), a United States Georgia Congressman who was a key supporter of funding for Antarctic research.

View Mount Vinson - Project 7 Summits in a larger map


The first measurement of the Vinson Massif was established in 1959 at the elevation of 5,140 m (16,864 ft).[1] In the 1979-80 climbing season, a U.S.S.R. party consisting of two Germans and a Soviet climber, reached the top and placed a red USSR flag and ski pole which assisted ground parties in establishing a more accurate height of 4,897 m (16,066 ft).

In January 2001, a team sponsored by NOVA made the first ascent of the east face and after running GPS on the summit for 20 minutes, established a new height of 16,077 ft (4,900.3 m).

The current height (4,892 m) resulted from a GPS survey by the 2004 Omega Foundation team comprising Damien Gildea of Australia (leader), and Rodrigo Fica and Camilo Rada of Chile.[5] Since 1998 and continuing through 2007, the Omega Foundation has placed a GPS receiver on the summit for a suitable period of time to obtain accurate satellite readings.

First ascent

Vinson MapThe summit was first reached in December 1966 by a group of climbers from the USA

In 1963, two groups within the American Alpine Club, one led by Charles Hollister and Samuel C. Silverstein, M.D., then in New York, and the other led by Peter Schoening of Seattle, Washington, began lobbying the National Science Foundation to support an expedition to climb Vinson. The two groups merged in spring 1966 at the urging of the National Science Foundation and the American Alpine Club, and Nicholas Clinch (Pasadena, CA) was recruited by the American Alpine Club to lead the merged expeditions. Named officially the American Antarctic Mountaineering Expedition 1966/67, the expedition was sponsored by the American Alpine Club and the National Geographic Society, and supported in the field by the U.S. Navy and the National Science Foundation Office of Antarctic Programs. Ten scientists and mountaineers participated in AAME 1966/67. In addition to Clinch they were Barry Corbet (Jackson Hole, WY), John Evans (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN), Eiichi Fukushima (University of Washington, Seattle, WA), Charles Hollister, Ph.D. (Columbia University, New York, NY), William Long, Ph.D. (Alaska Methodist University, Anchorage, AK), Brian Marts (Seattle, WA), Peter Schoening (Seattle, WA), Samuel Silverstein, M.D. (Rockefeller University, New York, NY) and Richard Wahlstrom (Seattle, WA).

In the months prior to its departure for Antarctica the expedition received considerable press attention, primarily because of the reports that Woodrow Wilson Sayre was planning to fly in a Piper Apache piloted by Max Conrad, the "flying Grandfather", with four companions into the Sentinel Range to climb the Vinson Massif. Sayre had a reputation for problematic trips as a result of his unauthorized, unsuccessful, and nearly fatal attempt to climb Mt. Everest from the North in 1962. His unauthorized incursion into Tibet led China to file an official protest with the U.S. State Department. In the event, the purported race did not materialize. Conrad had difficulties with his plane. According to press reports, he and Sayre were still in Buenos Aires on the day the first four members of AAME 1966/67 reached Vinson's summit.

In December 1966 the Navy transported the expedition and its supplies from Christchurch, New Zealand to the U.S. base at McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, and from there in a ski-equipped C-130 Hercules to the Sentinel Range. All members of the expedition reached the summit of the Vinson Massif. The first group of four climbers summited on December 18, 1966, four more on December 19, and the last three on December 20.

On August 18, 2006, from nomination by Damien Gildea of the Omega Foundation, US-ACAN approved naming the subsidiary peaks south of Mt. Vinson for the AAME 1966/67 members Nicholas Clinch, Barry Corbet, Eiichi Fukushima, Charles Hollister, Brian Marts, Samuel Silverstein, Peter Schoening and Richard Wahlstrom. Other peaks in the Sentinel Range had previously been named for John Evans and William Long.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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