West Antarctica is the region of Antarctica that falls in the Western Hemisphere.
There are many regions of Antarctica with the name "Land" at the end of them, some of which are mountains and some of which are flatter areas. However, these regions do not have their own articles because they offer few points of interest, let alone places to eat and sleep.
- Coats Land is closer to the Antarctic Peninsula than Marie Byrd Land.
- Ellsworth Land is close to Vinson Massif.
- Marie Byrd Land is the largest area in the world that isn't claimed by any country; of the three regions listed here, it's the one closest to Ross Island and McMurdo.
(Excluding bases in the Antarctic Peninsula region)
- 1 Belgrano II (Argentina)
- 2 Halley (U.K.) (Halley Research Station)
- 3 Neumayer (Germany) (Neumayer Station III)
- 1 Ellsworth Mountains
- 2 Thiel Mountains
- 3 Pensacola Mountains
- 4 Queen Maud Mountains
- 5 Whitmore Mountains
The mainland of Antarctica is divided into two sides: the east and the west. While the Peninsula section of Antarctica is in the western portion of the continent, the Peninsula is not considered to be part of West Antarctica because it's a more popular tourist destination and has a climate not quite as extreme due to its location off the Antarctic Plateau, which East and West Antarctica sit on.
Due to West Antarctica's location on the Antarctic Plateau, most of this region lies at a high elevation, with ice miles deep. This means that what would already be a very cold area if it was at a low elevation is even colder. The high altitude, of course, brings health-related problems as well.
This region is extremely difficult to get into, like East Antarctica. Unlike the Peninsula to the north, expedition ships generally avoid going to West Antarctica; the only exception to this would probably be the Ross Sea. However, a blue ice runway exists on Union Glacier Camp. This camp is privately owned and operated by Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions LLC (ALE). Chartered flights from Punta Arenas fly tourists to the camp and run trips to the interior of Antarctica including: South Pole, Vinson Massif, Hercules Inlet.
- Bentley Subglacial Trench — the lowest point in the world not covered by oceans.
- Mount Sidley. Antarctica's highest volcano (extinct), at a whopping 4181 meters.
- Climb Vinson Massif (Mount Vinson) — the highest point in Antarctica, 4892 meters (16,050 feet); climbs can be arranged by international travel agencies (for some tens of thousands of dollars (US) per person), and take around 14 days round trip from Punta Arenas. Aside from the weather and the absurd difficulties involved in transport there, the climb is supposed to be pretty easy, especially by "seven summits" standards.
- Climb Mount Tyree — this is one of the second seven summits; in other words, it's the second highest mountain peak in Antarctica.
- Run the annual Antarctic Ice Marathon. This is also the start of the World Marathon Challenge (7 Marathons on 7 continents in 7 days).
Unless someone at a base is willing for you to lodge, you will need to camp. Some excursions use Union Glacier Camp, a privately owned camp, as a base for their tourists.
- The Antarctic Peninsula is the destination for any traveler who wants to say that they've visited Antarctica without having huge expenses. The peninsula in some ways more closely resembles some of the nearby Antarctic Islands than the Antarctic's interior.
- East Antarctica is the other side of the continent.
- The South Pole isn't part of either East Antarctica or West Antarctica, of course, but is adjacent to both sides of the southernmost continent.