The climate on Vinson is generally controlled by the polar ice cap's high-pressure system, creating predominantly stable conditions but, as in any arctic climate, high winds and snowfall are a possibility. Though the annual snowfall on Vinson is low, high winds can cause base camp accumulations up to 46 centimetres (18 in) in a year. During the summer season, November through January, there are 24 hours of sunlight. While the average temperature during these months is −30 °C (−20 °F), the intense sun will melt snow on dark objects.
Over successive years, the limited amount of snow that falls on Vinson Massif compacts and is transformed into ice, forming glaciers. These glaciers follow the topography and flow down the mountains valleys. The uppermost glacier occupies the north face of Vinson, and flows either into Branscomb Glacier to the west or Crosswell Glacier to the east. The Crosswell Glacier flows into the Rutford Ice Stream via Ellen Glacier.