Vinson Massif Frequently Asked Questions
Travel & Insurance
How do I get there?
Get to the airport early and make sure your luggage gets checked through to the correct destination. Also, make sure that your flight connections aren't too tight. Lost luggage is a pain. Try to keep the number of connections to a minimum when you are making travel plans and use the same airline as much as possible. Leave expensive jewelry and watches at home. We would like everyone to have a wrist watch with an alarm along. They are quite handy. It's convenient to have a pen with you for filling in travel forms.
What kind of insurance do I need?
We invest in insurance coverage for commercial liability and medical and disability insurance for our employees while participating on our programs. We cannot insure you for your personal needs, but we do expect you to be as fiscally responsible as we are. We require that you insure yourself against potentially expensive difficulties that may arise. First, Trip Cancellation Insurance may provide financial relief should you be forced to withdraw from the program before it even happens. Next, make sure you have adequate Travel Insurance for coverage should you have a problem during the trip. Medical care and evacuation in remote locations can be expensive. For more information, please see our page on Trip Cancellation and Travel Insurance.
Do I need a passport?
If you do not already have a passport, or if your current passport is due to expire before the trip, you must obtain a new one. A CURRENT PASSPORT IS REQUIRED FOR ENTRY INTO CHILE. Also, if your passport is 'well-traveled', make sure there are blank pages available. Passport information is available from your main post office.
Again, please make sure your passport is current. We also suggest that you carry a photocopy of the front pages of your passport and a couple of extra passport photos. This simplifies replacement if a passport is lost. Carry these in a place separate from your passport.
Packing & Food
How should I pack?
Most of us will pack our gear in two duffle bags. Put your climbing pack in one of these bags. Most airlines limit checked luggage to two pieces each weighing no more than 50lbs, depending on the airline. New security measures make it impossible to lock luggage. Use zip ties to close the zipper tabs on your bags or pick up some TSA approved locks that use a numbered code, not keys. These are nice for your peace of mind. They help to prevent pilfering. In addition to these two bags, it's nice to use a small backpack for your carry-on luggage.
What kind of travel clothing should I bring?
Casual attire is the rule for most of our activities. T-shirts and jeans work well in South America. It's nice to have a clean shirt with a collar and a pair of pants for evenings just in case we ever wound up at someplace a bit fancier.
How much money should I bring?
Cash should be carried in the form of U.S.dollars. Bring small bills. Well-known credit cards are also accepted at better business establishments throughout the world. Plan to take about $500. That's probably more than you'll spend but it's always nice to have extra dollars.
What food should I bring?
IMG will provide breakfasts and dinners during our time in Antarctica but plan on providing your own snack foods. The common phrase in the mountains is, "lunch starts after breakfast, and finishes right before dinner." These snacks will be used during the hours on the trail and summit day. You should plan on bringing 10-12 days' worth of snacks at about one pound per day. Hot drinks will be offered during group breakfasts and dinners which will include cocoa, tea, cider, coffee etc. Starbucks Via packets have become very popular in the mountains and if you're a big coffee drinker make sure to throw a few in. Snacks can be purchased in Punta Arenas but make sure to bring your favorite items from home.
What medical info should I consider?
While we always strive to have a doctor as a participant on our trips, we cannot guarantee one's presence and you should be aware of this. It's important that everyone fills out the Medical Information form in the application documents carefully so that we can be made aware of any possible medical problems.
In addition to the first aid items listed on the equipment list, there are a few additional medications that you should consider. These should be discussed with your personal physician and will require a prescription. We suggest you discuss the use of azithromycin for prevention and/treatment of traveler's diarrhea with your physician, and you should have a course of this antibiotic with you. You also want to bring some Imodium for treatment of diarrhea. Please consider both of these medications as part of your required equipment list. Any medication should be used only if necessary and use should be discussed thoroughly with your physician and with your guide before you take the medication.
Water purification is also very important. An efficient and effective and inexpensive method is the use of iodine crystals. These are available commercially at mountaineering stores as a product called 'Potable Aqua.'
We also ask that each participant brings a small bottle of a hand disinfectant such as Purell. Anything that we can do to stay healthy is worthwhile.
Health issues will be discussed during the expedition and we encourage you to contact us if you have any questions before or during the trip. Please honestly inform us of any allergies or chronic medical problems on the Medical Information Form that is part of the sign-up forms package.
What immunizations do I need?
There are some immunizations that you should consider. Your local health department is the best source of information. Early preparations is necessary so that these vaccinations can be spaced out. We STRONGLY suggest getting tetanus and hepatitis vaccinations. Most folks are typically current with these vaccinations regardless of whether we were traveling or not.
What's included in the expedition fee?
Costs Included in Trip Fee:
- Guide fees
- Flight from Chile to Vinson BC RT
- Two hotel nights in Punta Arenas prior to the flight to Antarctica and one upon our return
- All group ground transfers
- All meals while climbing with the exception of snacks
- All group equipment
Costs Not Included in Trip Fee:
- Flights from the U.S. to Punta Arenas and return
- Hotel nights required due to weather delays
- Restaurant meals
- Visa fees, personal equipment and items of a personal nature
- REQUIRED Insurance: IMG requires that all* trip participants purchase Travel Insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation, repatriation and medical expenses for the duration of their IMG program. Antarctic expeditions require $300,000 of medical evacuation, repatriation and medical expense coverage. Trip Cancellation Insurance is strongly recommended. Trekking and mountaineering programs are true "adventure travel."
(*The insurance requirement does not apply to IMG customers on programs within the continental USA, but is strongly encouraged.)