Expedition To The South Pole, Ultimate Adventure, 62 Days, Polar Expedition
From: CHF 64'000
This is the ultimate adventure for people who want to push themselves to achieve the extraordinary. An adventure for the adventurous. This Antarctic expedition to the South Pole involves a long & strenuous 730mile trek over 50-60 days.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Strenuous Adventure Holidays
Group Size Small Group
Expedition to The South Pole
40 to 61 Days
3 Route Options
Under Your Own Power
Full Technical and Logistical Support
A Challenging and Rewarding Journey
Why Do We Recommend It?
Because this is an expedition to a truly unique and rarely visited environment.
You have the opportunity to do something extraordinary.
Experienced and trusted expedition operator.
Is It Right for Me?
This is an ultimate adventure and not an easy undertaking. It will be tough and will require you to push yourself. We’ll spend time consulting with you initially to determine if this is the expedition for you and to help you to prepare.
What People Say About The Trip
I have had this dream since I was 13, and it is only with your help that I have been able to achieve it.
Can I Go Anytime?
This polar expedition is scheduled for a specific departure window. There is little opportunity to change the departure date. However, do contact us and we are always happy to explore whatever options may be possible.
Itsy Bitsy Details
- Where: 90°S
- Duration: 62 Days
- Tour Starts: Punta Arenas, Chile
- Tour Ends: Punta Arenas, Chile
- Fly To: Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport, PUQ
- Fly From: Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport, PUQ
- Group Size: Max 4 per guide
- Age: No limit
- Total Distance: 730 miles / 1170 km
More Great Expeditions
- Expert guides
- All South Pole all the way expedition organisation requirements
- Transport within Antarctica where applicable
- Food and tented accommodation ex Punta Arenas (twin share)
- Expedition food and equipment
- Tents, stoves, sleds & harness
- Dedicated dispatch webpage updated throughout the Trek To The South Pole trip that you can post onto your own website for friends & family to follow
- Transport of 30kg/66lbs of personal equipment to Union Glacier
- Air travel to and from Punta Arenas, Chile
- Personal clothing and equipment
- Personal travel, medical, rescue insurance
- Hotel, meals and personal expenses in Punta Arenas
- Personal insurance – full travel, medical and rescue insurance is required as well as personal trip cancellation insurance. Medical evacuation insurance cover of US$300,000 is required.
- Excess baggage transportation charges of US$66.00 per kg for any baggage exceeding the personal equipment weight limit.
- Cost of satellite telephone calls whilst on expedition
Day 1 Meet in Punta Arenas, Chile. 2-5 Preparation of food and equipment, review the route and expedition plan, weighing & loading of gear and briefings. 6 Fly to Union Glacier, Antarctica. 7-8 Acclimatization and training days. 9 Fly to Hercules Inlet to begin ski tour. 10-36 Daily ski touring towards the Thiel Mountains. 37-58 Thiel Mountains to the South Pole. 59 Pick up from the South Pole, return to Union Glacier. 60 Fly to Punta Arenas, Chile. 61 The expedition ends, depart for home.
Day 1 Meet in Punta Arenas, Chile. 2–5 Prepare food and equipment, review the route and expedition plan, weigh and load gear, briefings. 6 Fly to Union Glacier, Antarctica. 7–8 Acclimatization and training days. 9–26 Fly to Messner Start and ski to Thiel Corner Skiway. 27–53 Ski from Thiel Corner Skiway to the South Pole. 54 Pick-up from the South Pole, return to Union Glacier. 55 Fly to Punta Arenas, Chile. 56 The expedition ends, depart for home.
Day 1 Meet in Punta Arenas, Chile. 2–5 Prepare food and equipment, review the route and expedition plan, weigh and load gear, briefings. 6 Fly to Union Glacier, Antarctica. 7–9 Acclimatization and training days. 10 Fly to the base of the Axel Heiberg Glacier. 11–19 Ski tour across the Axel Heiberg Glacier. 20–36 Ski across the Polar Plateau. 37 Arrive at the South Pole. 38 Pick-up from the South Pole, return to Union Glacier. 39 Fly to Punta Arenas, Chile. 40 The expedition ends, depart for home.
Expedition To The South Pole All the Way
Of the ample adventures to dream of in this world, there are very few which appeal to the spirit more than an opportunity to travel unencumbered in the Antarctic continent.
This incredible Trek To The South Pole journey to the southernmost point on earth involves a long and strenuous 730mile/1170km trek over 50-60 days.
This is anything but an expedition for the lighthearted as it entails vigorous activity for a very extended period.
Once established at the edge of the Antarctic continent, we travel totally non-mechanised, with all team members hauling sledges and becoming fully immersed in the challenge.
An expedition of unspoiled beauty and isolation not often found in today’s world; this is a highlight trip for those with a healthy work ethic and a genuine sense of adventure!
Antarctica has held the imagination of the entire world for over two centuries, yet the allure of this remote continent has not diminished. With huge advances in modern-day technology, travel to any part of the world seems to be considered a ‘fait a complis’. Yet Antarctica still holds a sense of being impenetrable, a place where man has not tamed nature.
Antarctica is a place of adventure. A frontier where we are far removed from our normal ‘safety net’ and where we need to rely on our own resources and decision making to survive. It is in these environments where we are truly in touch with nature, where we can embark on a journey of discovery of remote and untouched places.
In the Southern Hemisphere summer, when the sun is in the sky 24 hours each day; Our expedition partner is operating an expedition on skis across the vast expanse of Antarctica from the edge of the continent to the South Pole. This overland journey takes some 62 days and will be both challenging and exhilarating; a journey that will give us a lifetime of memories.
Who Will Lead the Expedition?
The expedition team includes experienced Arctic/Antarctic guides, whose knowledge and expertise is imperative in making these expeditions a success. The guides for each trek are confirmed 6 months prior to departure time.
How the Expedition Operates
The team will meet in Punta Arenas on the southern tip of Chile. After food and equipment preparations are finalised, we fly an ice runway on the Antarctic Continent which is a flight of around four hours. This landing site is known as Union Glacier and is the base for our air transport provided by Antarctic Logistics Expeditions (ALE), a company with 15 years’ experience in providing air support on the Antarctic Continent.
The Journey Commences!
After final preparations and fine-tuning at Union Glacier, we fly by ski-plane to the Hercules Inlet to begin our trek south. Skis will be worn for the entirety of the expedition (with a few possible exceptions) which will be the telemark type with ‘skins’ on the base for traction. When towing sleds, skins are preferable to the waxing method used for cross-country skiing.
This is where the adventure really begins. The plane departs and we are left to the silence of the Antarctic, and the huge task of walking the 1170km/730 miles over the next two months to the South Pole!
We quickly settle into a routine of 1hr marches with short breaks in-between. Now and again, a rocky summit adds some contrast to the landscape as we reach our halfway point at the Thiel Mountains, approximately 25 days into the journey. Navigation will be accomplished using GPS navigation equipment to ensure an accurate route to the pole.
The terrain between the Thiel Mountains and the South Pole consists of mostly flat terrain, yet we are eventually climbing to over 9000 feet; the height of the pole itself. For the most part, the snow will be smooth and flat interspersed with extensive wind affected sastrugi snowfields. We pass several mountain ranges along the way and navigate through only one major crevasse field for which we have a proven GPS plan. The terrain eventually climbs gradually onto the polar plateau for the final leg through to the South Pole itself. On arrival at the pole and the ensuing photo-fest, an aircraft will be dispatched to pick us up and return us to Union Glacier for the return flight to Chile.
We offer 3 different route options by which to achieve this journey:
HERCULES INLET (61 DAYS)
The route from Hercules Inlet is the ultimate challenge; a journey that traverses 1,130km/702 miles from the edge of the Ronne Ice Shelf to the Geographic South Pole. It is an expedition that will allow you to join an elite group who have undertaken this adventure under their own power.
MESSNER START (56 DAYS)
This scenic route is inspired by Reinhold Messner’s 1989 epic Antarctic crossing and offers a shorter but more committing alternative to the Hercules Inlet route. You’ll skirt the western flank of the massive
Foundation Ice Stream and the Transantarctic Mountains then turn south toward your final goal, the South Pole.
AXEL HEIBERG (40 DAYS)
Traverse the same terrain discovered by Roald Amundsen more than 100 years ago on a route marked by deep snow, steep climbs and complex route-finding. Climb the steep Axel Heiberg Glacier, bounded by majestic peaks on both sides, and navigate your way around the infamous maze of crevasses known as the Devil’s Ballroom.
The Level of Experience Required
The South Pole All the Way expedition is for the most dedicated of polar travellers. You need significant skiing and cold weather camping experience, along with a very high degree of fitness. Typically candidates will have participated in cold weather ski expeditions of some length such as North Pole or South Pole Last Degree expeditions, or the Greenland Crossing.
A high degree of discipline and diligence must be maintained throughout the expedition, skiing for 8-10 hours per day for 45-55 days in a row, with team members helping to set up camp and prepare meals. Rigorous daily training must be undertaken for 3-6 months prior to the expedition start.
We require all participants to submit a resume of their ski expedition experience so that we can make appropriate suggestions for further training and ensure you get the most out of your expedition.
What Will I Carry?
Each member will have a high tech sled built specifically for Arctic/Antarctic use. These will be loaded with personal gear as well as a share of the expedition equipment. We utilise three pre-placed food caches enroute to minimise the weight of our sleds. Each sled is estimated to weigh around 50-60kg/110-130lbs at the beginning of the phase, reducing over the duration of the expedition as food and fuel is consumed. The complete load is carried on the sled rather than carry a backpack.
The Daily Routine
The expedition team members share tents and the chores of cooking. The coldest part of the day will be in the breakdown of the camp as we pack sleds and begin the daily trek. Each day we will move for 8-10 hours with regular rests for food and fluid intake. Once we reach our camping destination for the day, we set up the tents and build snow walls to protect the tents from wind.
The effective temperature is defined by the strength of the wind as we are battling against the katabatic winds descending from the polar plateau. Temperatures will be in the range of –40 degrees C and F to 0 degrees C (32 degrees F). The temperatures will rise during the season but it is near the end of the expedition when we gain higher altitudes near the pole, that we will have the colder temperatures. Ultimately a lot will depend on the season and the general weather patterns. Weather analysis will be provided by experts in polar meteorology, which will assist us in being forewarned of major weather systems.
For most of the trek members need only be clad in fleece clothing with windproof shells. Warm expedition mittens and hats will be necessary in addition to a facemask and fur ruff around the jacket hood to keep wind and blowing snow at bay. Lightweight down clothing will help members endure the cold starts and provide additional warmth (if needed) in the sleeping bag.
We will supply all of the team equipment and you will only need your personal equipment. We supply sleds, tents, stoves, pots, food and fuel, ropes and sled harnesses, GPS and communication equipment.
You will need to supply all your own clothing, sleeping gear and ski equipment. If you wish we can assist with the purchase of equipment and clothing suitable to the expedition.
A full equipment list will be sent to you on confirmation of booking.
We intend to carry the latest in satellite communication equipment facilitating good contact with the outside world. This also improves safety in that we have instant communications with ALE in the unlikely event an evacuation is required. It is possible for you to utilise our equipment or you may bring your own, but we request you confirm with us to establish power requirements can be met.
It is possible for evacuations to take place along the route, if necessary. However there are areas with sufficient sastrugi to make aircraft landings impossible and anyone needing evacuation would need to be transported to a sastrugi free area for a pick-up, which may take days of travel. For this reason expedition members need to fully understand that evacuation is not an ‘on demand’ service and weather conditions can preclude flights for days or even weeks at a time. The best way to protect oneself against problems of this nature is to be fully prepared, both physically and mentally for an adventure of this magnitude. Additionally, an aircraft rescue can be very expensive and we require expedition members to be insured against this possibility.
Activity Level: Strenuous Expedition
What kind of physical condition should I be in for the expedition?
You should train on a daily basis for at least 3 months prior to the start of the Ski The Last Degree Expedition, and up to 6 months for the All The Way expedition. It is recommended that you focus on cardiovascular training as the cardiovascular system is constantly stressed whilst on the move. Running, hiking and tyre-dragging combined with strength, core stability and flexibility training are the best types of exercise to incorporate into your programme. It is important to ensure long duration aerobic exercise, gradually increasing your endurance to maintain 8-10 hours of vigorous activity a day for the duration of your expedition.