Mountain Ranges In Antarctica: Guide To Notable Mountains & Hikes
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Mountain Ranges In Antarctica: Guide To Notable Mountains & Hikes

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mountain ranges in antarctica

When one thinks of Antarctica, what usually springs to mind are icebergs, penguins and freezing cold weather, not mountains. 

But there are in fact a number of notable mountain ranges in Antarctica. 

On this page we look at the main ranges in Antarctica, including the Transantarctic Mountains, the Antarctandes and the Sentinel Range.

We also look at some of the most iconic mountain peaks on the continent, including the iconic Mount Vinson.

Antarctica Mountain Ranges

Antarctica is dominated by three major mountain range systems. 

The first is the Antarctandes, aka the Antarctic Peninsula Cordillera, which runs the full length of the Antarctic Peninsula in what's known as Graham and Palmer Land (see map below).

Further to the south of the Antarctandes are the Ellsworth Mountains, home to the Sentinel Range and the highest peaks on the continent.

The third major range is called the Transantarctic Mountains, which runs north to south and splits the continent into East and West Antarctica. 

Transantarctic Mountains

Transantarctic Mountains

The Transantarctic Mountains run the full length of western Antarctica, dividing the continent into East and West.

Running 3,500km in length, the mountains are sub-divided into a number of ranges, many of which are named after Queens - Maud, Alexandra, Elizabeth. 

The mountains were first sighted by James Clark Ross in 1841, and first crossed during the 1901-1904 British National Antarctic Expedition. The highest peak in the Transantarctic Mountains is Mount Kirkpatrick (4,528 m / 14,856 ft)

Sentinel Range

The Sentinel Range is part of the Ellsworth Mountains in Antarctica, and is home to some of the continents highest peaks, including the Vinson Massif where Mount Vinson, Antarctica's highest mountain, is situated.

Other major mountains in the range include Mount Tyree (4,852m), Clinch Peak (4,841m) and Corbet Peak (4,822m).

The Sentinel Range can be seen just south-west of the Ronne Ice Shelf in the image above.

Mountain Ranges in Antarctica

Range

Parent Range

Highest Point

Transantarctic Mountains

None

Mount Kirkpatrick (4,528m)

Ellsworth Mountains

None

Mount Vinson (4,892m)

Sentinel Range

Ellsworth Mountains

Mount Vinson (4,892m)

Heritage Range

Ellsworth Mountains

Unknown

Queen Maud Mountains

Transantarctic Mountains

Mount Kaplan (4,230m)

Tangra Mountains

Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica

Mount Friesland (1,700m)

Queen Alexandra Range

Transantarctic Mountains

Mount Kirkpatrick (4,528m)

Queen Elizabeth Range

Transantarctic Mountains

Mount Markham (4,350m)

Admiralty Mountains

Transantarctic Mountains

Mount Minto (4,165m)

Royal Society Range

Transantarctic Mountains

Mount Lister (‎4,025m)

Notable Antarctic Mountains

Most of Antarctica's notable mountains are found in the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains. 

Here are ones that are frequently on explorer's climb lists:

Mount Vinson

Mount Vinson 4,892m / 16,050 ft is the highest mountain in Antarctica. It is part of the Vinson Massif's summit plateau in the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains.

Vinson was first climbed in 1966 by an American team led by Nicholas Clinch.

Vinson is part of the 7 Summits circuit and has therefore been climbed relatively frequently given it's remote location. It is estimated that at least 1,600 people have climbed Mount Vinson. 

Mount Tyree

Mount Tyree (4,852 m  / 15,919 ft) is the second highest mountain in Antarctica. The mountain was first summited in 1967, and has since then only been successfully climbed a handful of times.  

Mount Gardener

Mount Gardener (4,587 m / 15,050 ft) is situated in the Ellsworth Mountains of the Sentinel Range. The mountain has been climbed a number of times.

Mount Shinn

Mount Shinn (4,661 m  / 15,292 ft) is also situated in the Ellsworth Mountains of the Sentinel Range. Mount Shinn is the third highest mountain in Antarctica and part of the Third Seven Summits.

Highest Mountains in Antarctica

Below are some of the highest mountains in Antarctica.

The list excludes some of the Sentinel Range peaks that form part of the ice-covered Vinson Plateau.

Many of these peaks are in the 4,600m-4,850m range, for example: Clinch Peak (4,841m), Corbet Peak (4,822m), Schoening Peak (4,743m), Hollister Peak (4,729m) and Príncipe de Asturias Peak (4,680m). 

Mountain

Height

Range

Mount Vinson

4,892 m / 16,050 ft

Part of the Vinson Massif, which lies in the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains

Mount Tyree

4,852 m  / 15,919 ft

Sentinel Range

Mount Shinn

4,661 m  / 15,292 ft

Sentinel Range

Mount Gardener

4,587 m / 15,050 ft

Sentinel Range

Mount Kirkpatrick

4,528 m / 14,856 ft

Queen Alexandra Range

Mount Elizabeth

4,480 m  / 14,700 ft

Queen Alexandra Range

Mount Rutford

4,477 m / 14,688 ft

Sentinel Range

Mount Markham

4,350 m / 14,271 ft

Queen Elizabeth Range

Mount Sidley

4,285 m  / 14,058 ft

Executive Committee Range

Mount Bentley

4,245m / 13,927 ft

Sentinel Range

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