Priority Freight supports Sophie Lavaud in completing her first summit in her 2024 challenge

World-class mountaineer Sophie Lavaud has completed her first climb of 2024, reaching the 4,892m peak of Mount Vinson, the highest point in Antarctica. This marks the first climb in Sophie’s new challenge to summit the tallest mountain on each of the seven continents. Priority Freight is supporting Sophie and her team as they embark on this incredible adventure to prove that nothing is impossible.

Sophie kept us updated with her progress throughout the gruelling climb, sharing that Antarctica presented a very different atmosphere from her most recent climbs in the Himalayan mountains. In Antarctica, all though the sun shone around the clock, it rarely provided any warmth; even three people huddled together couldn’t make the temperature rise above -26° in the tent.

Much of the initial climb was on a glacier, meaning the team was roped together, and progress was slow, making it impossible to keep warm. Each day involved travelling long distances and rising around 1,000 metres altitude on average.

Camp Two sits at 3,780m and, from there, it took seven hours to reach the pretty ridge that finally took Sophie and her team up to the summit at 4,892m. The wind was violent on this last part of the climb, taking the air temperature of –37° down to an unimaginable –50°.

What goes up must come down! Once they had taken in the spectacular view and memories of their achievement were etched in their minds forever, Sophie’s team descended to Camp Two, where she reported it took most of the night to warm up again.

After a few hours of sleep, they descended to Camp One to collect the rest of their belongings before returning to Base Camp with the pulkas.

At Base Camp, the team were relieved to see the plane waiting for them. Bad weather threatened to stall their departure, but the pilot managed to take off despite the freezing fog and return the team to Union Glacier. Here, the medical centre had a number of frozen fingers to treat, but other than that, the team were all fit and well and finally warm.

Sophie says she is already missing ‘white as far as the eye can see’. We look forward to sharing more news of Sophie’s next climb!