Vinson Massif
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Vinson Massif

July 22, 2003
Vinson Massif is the tallest mountain in Antarctica. Its peak reaches 4897 m (16,067 ft), though the mountain itself is a large raised feature around thirteen miles long and eight miles wide, dominating the Sentinel Range of the Ellesworth Mountains in which it is located. It was first surveyed in 1957 as part of the activities for International Geophysical Year, when it was named after U.S. Congressman Carl Vinson, a strong supporter of the Antarctic research expeditions.

The nearest airport is in southern Chile and only cargo planes have the range to reach the smooth ice cap to the west of the Sentinel Range where they land on skis. Once there, the severe persistent cold poses its own unique challenges: even in summer, the climbing season, the average temperature is -20 ° F despite 24 hours of sunlight a day.

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