MOUNT SIDLEY EXPEDITION

  • Adventure Factor
    brave
  • Experience Value / Emotion
    mindblowing
  • Fitness / Struggle
    workout
  • Risk
    very low
  • Travel Comfort
    expedition style

Do you dream of the unexplored and crave the extraordinary?

This is the ultimate mountaineering expedition to Antarctica‘s tallest volcano and one of the most remote and rarely climbed peaks on this planet: Mount Sidley, 4285 meters.

The West-Antarctic Ice Sheet is like no other place on Earth: Extreme, remote, cold and windswept. The harsh elements and austere immensity of this ice desert renders it the world‘s premier adventuring playground.

 

The spectacular and beautiful Mount Sidley is the target of our special expedition in January 2018 and the highlight of our ambitious Volcanic Seven Summits project (see page 8). We plan to climb the peak via a new, interesting route in the spirit of real adventure and traverse all its three summits. The mountain‘s remote setting, interesting and varied climbing and its status as one of the Volcanic Seven Summits make it a “must do” for adventurous mountaineers and true “volcanoholics”.

 

Geography

Mount Sidley, 4285 meters, is a huge and remote mountain set on the white expanse of the West-Antarctic ice sheet. The shield volcano is the continent´s tallest volcano and the highest mountain of Marie-Byrd-Land. The majestic, mostly snow covered peak features a 5 kilometers wide caldera and sheer walled 1200 meters deep amphitheater, created by an explosive eruption 4,7 million years ago. Blue ice slopes guard the upper mountain and fantastical snow “mushrooms” sprout along the upper ridge, creating an elaborate maze to the summit.

Marie-Byrd-Land is located in West-Antarctica between 158° W and 103°24’ W and covers an area of 1.6 million squarekilometers, three times the size of France. Even for Antarctic standards it is a very rarely visited region and is considered the largest “no man’s land” on earth. Unlike all other territorial sectors in Antarctica Marie-Byrd-Land is not claimed by any nation in the world. Also there are no fishing fleets along its shores, no artificial moorings, aircraft runways or landing strips and not even research stations. It is pure polar wilderness.

Only a chain of active, barely explored volcanoes breaks through the ice sheet, one of the most interesting volcanic regions on earth. Along a 900-kilometer stretch of Antarctica‘s Pacific Coast, 18 major volcanoes protrude the ice sheet, similar in size to the Cascade volcanic chain in North America. The Executive Committee Range, which stretches about 80 kilometers from North to South includes Mount Sidley. The gigantic volcano rises 2200 meters above the ice plateau. Very close to Mount Sidley the ice-covered and more than 2500 meters deep Bentley Subglacial Trench is the deepest point on earth not covered by sea.

 

History

Legendary US polar explorer Richard Evelyn Byrd explored this part of Antarctica between 1929 and 1941 on three expeditions and named it after his wife Marie. Rear Admiral Byrd discovered a huge volcano during a flight on November 18, 1934. He later named the mountain after Mabelle Sidley, the daughter of a contributor to the Byrd Antarctic Expedition. Today Mount Sidley is the only mountain in the range not named for a member of the US Antarctic Services Executive Commitee. Mount Sidley was first climbed as late as January 11, 1990 by New Zealander Bill Atkinson, followed by two more ascents in the early 1990‘s by US Antarctic Scientific Program field parties. It wasn‘t until 2010 that Sidley saw its third ascent. While Mount Vinson (4892 meters), the highest peak in Antarctica, has already been climbed several hundred times, until now only a handful of mountaineers and true explorers stood on top of Antarctica´s highest volcano.

  • Dates: 05.-23.01.2019
  • 12 Days Antarctica, total 19 travel days
  • Temperature: -15 to -30°C
  • Costs: US$ 58.400
  • Team size: 4/5 + 1 polar-mountainguide
  • Organisation partner: Furtenbach Adventures (Austria)

 

Do you have questions

 

Included

Highly experienced expedition guide

Transfers to and from Punta Arenas airport for Antarctic flights

Briefing with logistical provider in Punta Arenas prior to departure

All flights to, within and from Antarctica as shown in itinerary

All meals and accommodation while in Antarctica

A personal baggage allowance of 25 kg on the Punta Arenas - Union Glacier flight including skis

Expedition camping equipment

Expedition group climbing equipment

Skis, bindings, skins, ski poles

Security and warranty of an Austrian tour operator

 

NOT included

International flights to and from Punta Arenas (LAN recommended, booking of flights is available)

Accommodation and meals in Punta Arenas (hotel reservation will be coordinated)

Personal equipment and clothing (we will help to organize and purchase the best polar clothing and polar-proof sleeping bag at special rates with our sponsoring partners)

Any excess baggage costs over confirmed baggage allowance

Extra expenses incurred in Punta Arenas due to delays

Insurance coverage – personal, medical, evacuation or otherwise 

Tour operator for this trip: Furtenbach Adventures GmbH, Hoehenstrasse 5, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria, phone: +43 (0) 512 204134, mail: info@furtenbachadventures.com

Schedule

No two Antarctic adventures are the same and details may not happen exactly as described. This, however, is part of the excitement and adventure of Antarctic travel. Exact timeline and details may and will vary due to changes depending on logistical demands and weather. Therefore flexibility is required. We have planned a relaxed schedule with reserve time. Allow yourself to enjoy this unique experience without the stress of pending commitments.

Planned Itinerary

05.01.2019 International flight from home destination via Santiago de Chile to South America

06.01.2019 Arrival in Punta Arenas, Chile Transfer to our comfortable hotel

07/08.01.2019 Preparations and excursions in Punta Arenas We begin the journey in the southern gateway city of Punta Arenas, Chile. We shall spend some days here preparing our food and equipment for the expedition and getting to know each other.

09.01.2019 Flight with Iljushin IL76 to Antarctica From Punta Arenas we fly in one of the most stunning aircrafts in polar aviation, a specially equipped Iljushin IL76 transport jet, 4 ¼ hrs to the American Union Glacier airbase in Antarctica´s Ellsworth Mountains. We land on the ice runway and settle in at Union Glacier Camp.

10./11.01.2019 Final expedition preparations in Union Glacier Camp We review our expedition plan, acclimatize and finalize preparations as well as camp set up.

12.01.2019 Flight with private Twin Otter skiaircraft to Mount Sidley Depending on weather we fly almost 900 kilometers over the spectacular mountains and the vast emptiness of West-Antarctica to the remote Executive Committee Range. Our ski aircraft lands near Mount Sidley and we establish base camp at approximately 2000 meters altitude, below the imposing bulk of the mountain. Now we are really “out there”, in the middle of the worlds largest desert and get to absorb the reality of our exposed location feeling like Astronauts on another planet. The brittle cold is palpable but with our perfect expedition clothing and equipment we are well prepared for all that Antarctica can throw at us. We set up tents and give ourselves a night of acclimatizing to the thinner air here at 2.000 meters elevation. Our private Twin Otter and aircrew will be standing by all time.

13.-17.01.2019

Five days for the mountain ascent Mount Sidley offers several interesting route options, including a longer easy ascent from the north side and a steeper climb up the west ridge from the Bennett Saddle. The route that we climb will be decided depending on the landing site as well as the team‘s skill and experience. From base camp to the summit involves approximately 2200 meters of elevation gain. We climb alpine style, setting two intermediate camps on the mountain and dragging or carrying our food and equipment with us. We may ski to low camp on hard packed, wind blown snow, but most of the climb will be done with crampons. Storms and blizzards are rare up here at this time of the year and we are more likely to experience the fragile stillness of the high pressure system in the high and dry Antarctic interior. Warm clothing, heat generating activity, a high calorie food and cosy camping gear make the elements of Antarctica not only tolerable but truly enjoyable. We will experience 24 hour daylight. So there is no shortage of time to really see and feel the true Antarctica like just very few people have experienced the icy paradise before. Summit day offers spectacular views as we follow the summit ridge along the rim of the caldera. Below us the sheer walls of the Weiss Amphitheater drop away 1200 meters. We weave our way between a maze of fantastical ice “mushrooms”. These spectacular snow features are formed by wind and moisture depositing rime ice on small obstacles, over the years evolving into massive structures. Our select group has skied and climbed in one of the most stunning landscapes on this planet to the summit of one of the most remote peaks on earth – a magnificent achievement that will live with us for the rest of our life. Following our summit success we return to high camp and retrace our steps back to our base camp.

18./19.01.2019

Two weather days Optional ascent of Mount Waesche or some of the other satellite peaks in the area, if time and weather allow. These days also provide a buffer for weather delays.

20.01.2019 Return to Union Glacier Camp with Twin Otter Fly back to Union Glacier Camp. Celebrate our achievement with a glass of wine and a delicious, fresh meal prepared by the ALE chefs.

21.01.2019 Reserve day in Punta Arenas in case of weather delay on return flight

22.01.2019 International return flight to home destination

23.01.2019 Arrival at home destination

 

Flight home: We recommend you to book your return flight for a week after we returned from the Antarctica so we have a buffer for possible delays, which are common with expeditions to the Antarctica. In case you should have any extra time in Punta Arenas, the Team will gladly provide you with information about excursions and sightseeing in the area. At departure day: transfer to the airport and individual flight home.

General 

An expedition to high altitudes still presents an enormous challenge despite modern equipment and tactics. Besides technical and fitness requirements, the high altitude still poses the largest hurdle. That is why we place great emphasis on prudent, slow acclimatization. 
Weather and conditions on the mountain can lead to program or route changes. Participation in the expedition lies in your own individual responsibility. Furtenbach Adventures assumes no liability for accidents, damages or loss of materials.
If you are not sure whether taking part in an expedition is the right thing for you, feel free to contact Lukas Furtenbach at Tel +43 512 204134 or per emaillukas@furtenbachadventures.com for an answer to this question during a personal interview!

This package in general is not suitable for persons with reduced mobility.

Difficulty / Technique
The ascent always lies in the participant‘s personal responsibility, while led by the mountain guide and expedition leader. Participants must be able to move safely and independently in mixed terrain (rock, snow, ice) and – if required – independently build rope teams under the guidance of the mountain guide. Cooperation, camaraderie and support on the mountain increases the chances of success for all. The guide is there to provide guidance for the whole group, the possibilities for him to respond to individual needs is limited. It is imperative that participants adhere to the instructions and decisions made by the mountain guide. Regardless, each participant must know their own physical limits, and be able to make a timely decision to turn back.

Physical fitness 
A key success factor in expeditions is being in good shape. Train in the months before the expedition! Several hour climbs with a backpack and around 1000 meters per day should not be a problem for you. Mental training is also advised for this very challenging expedition. We will gladly provide individual advice on how to best prepare yourself mentally and physically for an expedition!

Equipment 
You need to bring your own personal equipment including a sleeping bag with a comfort zone for -20° C. Please consider that the temperature is likely to drop below -30° C, and a strong win-chill-effect and storms can occur. Following your booking we will send you a detailed equipment list. We will be happy to advise you personally during the selection and purchase of required equipment. With years of expedition experience, we know what has proved its worth and what not.

Health 
We recommend that each participant undergoes a medical examination prior to the expedition. Good health is a prerequisite for participation. Particularly important is a visit to the dentist because previously unnoticed dental problems can become quite acute due to the sudden change in pressure conditions in higher altitudes.

Experience 
Although Mount Sidley is not technically difficult, it is a serious mountain due to its extremely remote location, the cold of up to -30°C, elevation of 4285 meters at a very high latitude of 77°S, which makes the mountain "feel" much higher. You should have experience with multi-day peaks in cold environments; climing at altitude 4500 meters and with unsupported alpine-style ascents in winter conditions. Proficiency with ice axe and crampons on slopes up to 45 degrees and with roped glacier travel carrying a 20 kg backbag is essential. We are very familiar with the charm and attraction of a high mountain! However, we want to make certain that you can ascend safely, come back alive, and be able to enjoy the expedition while on it and not afterwards. When booking, please let us know which heights you have already reached and which high mountains you have climbed. If you are a newcomer, no problem, we offer a bespoke program aimed to train you for reaching your desired destination.

We offer a special introductory weekend for all those who want to learn about - or refresh their knowledge of - all the skills and techniques needed on an expedition. More info here.

Entry Requirements

Passport and Visa Regulations

Chile
Swiss or EU citizens: When entering the country, you need a valid passport. At entry you will receive a tourist card, which has to be returned at departure. Travelers have to be able show evidence of their planned departure (Airplane ticket) as well as enough money for their stay in Chile. 

Information on recommended vaccines and health regulations:
http://www.who.int/ith/en/

 

More detailed information regarding entry, visa and health requirements for this travel destination will be provided once you’ve communicated your nationality.

Payment

Deposit Payment is made less than eleven months prior to the end of the trip and is a maximum of 20% of the price. The balance must be paid no earlier than 20 days prior to departure. Please find more information regarding the payment in our GTC.

 

Right of withdrawal

The traveller has the right to withdraw from the travel contract at any time by paying the according cancellation fee stated in the General Terms of Conditions of Furtenbach Adventures GmbH (https://www.furtenbachadventures.com/en/service/gtc/, item II. 7.).

The following fees apply for cancellations on the part of the client prior to travel:

 until 30 days prior to departure............................... 30%
29 - 20 days prior to departure.......................... 40%
19 -10 days prior to departure.......................... 70%
9 - 4 days prior to departure.............................. 80%
from the 3rd day prior to departure (72 hours).........100%
on the day of departure....................................... 100% of the tour fee.

The tour operator will be released from the contract if the specified minimum number of participants is not achieved and if the customer has been notified about the cancellation in writing within the following periods: until 20 days prior to departure.

Insurance possibilities

We strongly recommend taking out a travel insurance (including trip cancellation, interruption, medical and luggage insurance) at “Europäische Reiseversicherung AG” [European Travel inscurance].

For this journey the insurance package “Annual-Complete+Cover” would be suitable. We’re happy to provide you with an individual offer after the booking of the trip or on request.

 

 

 

Furtenbach Adventures is the most innovative organizer of expeditions and exclusive adventure travel.

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Get in touch

Furtenbach Adventures GmbH
Höttinger Gasse 12
6020 Innsbruck
Austria

+43 (0) 512 / 204134

office@furtenbachadventures.com

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