Mount Vinson Italian military expedition
An Italian military corps from Courmayeur sets off on an eco-sustainable expedition to Mount Vinson (Antarctic), by traversing 300km to the base of the mountain via a new itinerary.
On 9 December the High Altitude Mountaineering Group belonging to the Italian Alpine Military Training Centre will set off for Mount Vinson (4897m), the highest summit in the Antarctic and one of the illustrious Seven Summits (the highest peaks in all 7 continents). The 2007 International Polar Year is the pretext for the expedition, which aims not only to reach the 4897m high summit, but also to reach the base of the mountain via a new 300km ski traverse from the Patriot Hills to the Vinson massif
A similar traverse has only been achieved once previosuly whilst the summit of Mount Vinson has been climbed by just 7 Italians (including Messner, Magliano and Pompili). The four mountaineers will cover the 300km to reach Mount Vinson in temperatures ranging from minus 10 to minus 35 degrees centigrade. Furthermore, they will have to watch out for extreme winds that can reach 200km an hour descending from the plateau to the sea.
The expedition aims to cross the 300km in circa 10 to 12 days, travelling at circa 25 to 30km a day. Base camp on Mount Vinson will be established at 2150mt.
The team will be composed of:
1st Warrant Officer Ettore Taufer - Head of the Sports Activity Division
1st Warrant Officer Giovanni Amort – Alpine Troups Command
Corporal VFP4 Marco Farina - Sports Activity Division
Officer Elio Sganga - Sports Activity Division
Mount Vinson Massif
The summit of the Vinson Massif is located 1190km from the South Pole. The vast steep faces with razor sharp crests of black rock rise from the Nimitz glacier to over 3000mt where a wide plateau of ice and snow is the foundation for Mont Vinson (one of the Seven Summits) and numerous other interesting peaks including the Epperly, Tyree and Shin mountains. The Mount Vinson Massif lies at 78°35’S and 82°25’W, is 21km long and 13km wide and is the southernmost tip of the Sentinel Range in the Ellsworth Mountains. Vinson is named after Carl Vinson, an American congressman from Georgia. Discovered in 1957 when spotted by a reconnaissance plane, it was climbed for the first time in December 1966, by an expedition run by both the American Alpine Club and the National Science Foundation. To date it has only been climbed by a handful of Italians.
The Vinson Massif rises from the centre of the 7th continent, the deserted ice plateau known as the Antarctic, renowned for having the lowest temperatures on the planet as well as being the engine for its climate. The covering ice cap is 4000mt thick in places and hides entire mountain chains. One of the most “alien” areas on the planet, it is a bewitching and fascinating place. Extremely beautiful, it remains totally inaccessible due to the extreme weather conditions that only let up for a very brief summer during which the sun never sets. This limited season is the only time that alpinists can attempt their ascents even though temperatures remain extremely low and winds strong.