At the forefront of climbing exploration in the Antarctic Peninsula, Aurora Expeditions and our experienced guides have been leading trips to this remote climbing location for well over a decade. Having forged new routes on many of the continent’s magnificent peaks, we return year after year to share this spectacular continent and its climbing experiences with our guests.
Along the Antarctic Peninsula coastline, hundreds of peaks rise several thousand feet, snow-clad and beckoning eager adventure seekers. From ascents of alpine peaks to ice climbing on grounded icebergs, our program aims to give participants a taste of the region’s fantastic climbing opportunities.
During the voyage we offer climbs for the moderately fit, from easy ascents to more technical routes, ranging from 4 to 10 hours. We hope to make at least two one-day alpine ascents and attempt some iceberg climbing. Previous experience with crampons and ice axe is necessary and a surcharge applies.
Our climbing program is suitable for a wide range of experience levels. Most of the alpine peaks we climb are non-technical and can usually be attempted by people with limited experience. However, it is not an instructional climbing class for beginners and is therefore unsuitable for complete novices. Ideally participants would have the following experience as a minimum;
- Walking or climbing on snow including the use of ice axe and crampons (required)
- Some trekking or hiking experience
- Rock climbing or abseiling experience is an advantage as ropes are used
Please note: Your guide will assess your ability on the initial climb, and if you have insufficient experience he or she reserves the right to restrict your participation in tougher conditions.
A reasonable level of fitness is required and participants should be able to walk or climb with a moderate pack of approximately 10kgs for up to 8 to 10 hours on ascent days. If you have any queries regarding your suitability regarding experience or fitness then please don’t hesitate to contact us. One of our climbing guides will be more than happy to talk through the experience with you. Climbers should be aged 14 or over.
Our guides have many years of climbing experience in our destinations and all hold relevant mountain instruction and safety certificates. The guide will lead the group on each excursion, explaining facts about the wildlife and other highlights as we come across them. We have one climbing guide for every 4-6 climbers.
Number of Climbs
We aim to climb two peaks and/or complete a glacier traverse as well as undertake two or more ice climbing sessions, each lasting somewhere between 4 to 10 hours. Our actual number of outings is highly weather dependent and dictated by our voyage itinerary.
Wind, Ice and Weather
During summer the air temperature in the Antarctic Peninsula is generally above freezing but can range from -4°C to +5°C. The water however, is close to freezing, and combined with winds which sweep off the glaciers, make the wind chill much cooler. If the weather changes during our outing we will head back to the ship or to the shore. The ship’s captain, expedition leader and climbing guide always maintain close contact to ensure a safe climbing experience.
Good quality equipment is essential for climbing safety. Aurora Expeditions supply limited equipment and you will be required to bring some of your own climbing equipment, which must be in good condition. Our climbing guide will inspect all personal equipment prior to the first outing to ensure it is up to standard. If any of your personal items are deemed unsafe or unsatisfactory for the climbing conditions our guide reserve the right to refuse the use of your equipment.
Aurora Expeditions supply all ropes, snowstakes and ice screws. Climbing equipment you will need to supply includes:
- Helmet: A UIAA rated climbing helmet
- Climbing harness: A sit style climbing harness.
- Carabiners: At least one locking style carabiner
- Ice axe and crampons (We do have a limited supply of these on board)
- Water bottle: Two litre capacity in one or two bottles
- Good daypack: 30+ litre capacity
Required Footwear and Clothing
- Leather or synthetic climbing boots that have a ¾ shank and are crampon compatible. Hiking boots are unsuitable. Ensure your boots fit correctly and are well worn in before your voyage. If you are unsure of boots suitability then please contact us.
- Warm socks are essential! Bring enough spares to allow for used pairs to dry.
- Water proof jacket and pants: Designed for alpine environments, made from quality breathable material, such as Goretex, is required. Light weight nylon gear and some ski clothing is not suitable
- Thermal synthetic or wool long johns and top, and fleece or woolen jacket or vest are all ideal for layering.
- Gaiters that are compatible with your boot and are designed for use in snow
- Gloves with removable inners (x 2 pairs)
- Sunglasses with a high UV rating and wrap around the face
- Snow goggles should also be carried for poor weather conditions
- A neck gaiter
- A peaked cap or similar
- A silk or cotton scarf to protect your face from the sun
- Good quality sunscreen and lip balm
Travel Insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is mandatory on all Aurora Expeditions voyages. You will need to ensure that your insurance policy covers you for your Climbing activity. An additional policy or premium may be required to ensure you have adequate coverage. Please contact Aurora Expeditions if you need assistance with your insurance policy. Mountaineering and Climbing Surcharge
Mountaineering and Climbing surcharge
The Mountaineering and Climbing surcharge is US$450 and includes guide, outings and some equipment.
How to Book
If you would like to partake in our climbing option on your voyage please return the Mountaineering and Climbing Activity Form at time of booking. Our climbing guide will review your form for suitability and experience before approving your place in the climbing group.
Specialty Climbing Stockists
Check out the below stores to get yourself ready for your mountaineering adventure in Antarctica:
Kevin was an excellent guide and a pleasure to climb with.Roger Edgecomb - Spirit of Antarctica, 2015