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National Geographic Special Collections: Archives & Film Preservation Blog

Antarctic Mountain Climb (1966)

by Karen Cerka on 2024-01-19T12:52:05-05:00 | 0 Comments


In December 1965, the Antarctic midsummer, Nicholas Clinch, a 36-year old lawyer, led the American Antarctic Mountaineering Expedition to the Sentinel Range, in the northern Ellsworth Mountains. Here Antarctica’s highest peaks soared, and supported by the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, and the American Alpine Club, and depending on the U.S. Navy to get them there, Clinch’s party surmounted harrowing winds and beyond extreme conditions in order to become the first to climb several of the more challenging slopes, including Vinson Massif, at over 16,800 feet the highest mountain in this farthest and coldest of continents. It was a model expedition in every way, and Clinch proved an efficient and effective leader. So on March 31, 1967, Chief Justice Earl Warren presented the Society's first John Oliver La Gorce Medal to Clinch and his entire expedition for their contributions “to science and exploration through the first ascent of Antarctica's highest mountain.” (From Geopedia:

For more on this Antarctic expedition, please read “First Conquest of Antarctica’s Highest Peaks” by Nicholas B. Clinch in the June 1967 NGM.

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Banner Photo Credit: Renan Ozturk.