The King George Island ice cap, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica, was studied between 1985 and 1992. At the steady-state equilibrium-line altitude of the ice cap, the mean annual temperature is -3.6°C, the mean summer (December-February) temperature is 0°C and annual precipitation is 800 mm w.e. Precipitation increases rapidly with elevation, and annual accumulation rate at the Main Dome summit reaches 2480 mm a−1. Between 1985 and 1991 the equilibrium-line elevation averaged 140-150 m a.s.l. The ice cap has been in an overall stable state for the past 20 years, going from a weak negative to a small positive mass imbalance as increased precipitation outweighs the effects of rising temperatures. Temperatures at the bottom of the active layer over most of the accumulation area are close to 0°C, with colder temperatures down to -1.9°C in the ablation zone. Soluble impurities in the ice cap are mainly from marine sources, while undissolved mineral material amounts to only 15-54% of the total microparticle content.