Mount Vinson, named for Georgian Congressman Carl Vinson who fostered Antarctic exploration, is the highest mountain on the down-under continent of Antarctica. The icy 16,066-foot (4,897-meters) mountain is one of the Seven Summits, the highest points on the seven continents, as well as the eighth most prominent mountain in the world. Vinson is also, after Mount Everest, the most expensive of the Seven Summits to climb.
Mount Vinson, a remote peak in the Ellsworth Mountains, rises 750 miles from the South Pole. It wasn't even discovered until 1957 after some U.S. Navy pilots did a reconnaissance flight over the range and wasn't climbed until December of 1967 when ten Americans did the first three ascents.
Now Vinson is climbed relatively often, with climbers flying from Puntas Arenas in southern South America to an ice runway at Patriot Hills where they change planes and fly another hour to Vinson Base Camp. If you've got an extra $30,000 or so dollars laying around just collecting interest, you can plunk it down and make your own ascent of this high mountain in the world's ultimate wilderness area.
Read the new article Mount Vinson: Highest Mountain in Antarctica for lots of interesting and unknown facts about Vinson and information on getting down there to climb it.
Photograph above: A climber trudges up the final slopes below Mount Vinson's summit in buffeted by its infamous winds. Photograph © Gordon Wiltsie/Getty Images.