FULL South Pole Ski Expedition

The Full South Pole Expedition challenges even the most experienced adventurers. Expect driving winds, heavy sleds, eight to ten hours of skiing each day and temperatures plunging well below zero. Expect also pristine wilderness, surreal beauty and the adventure of a lifetime. Polar exploration at its finest!

Like the early polar explorers you will set out for the South Pole from the Antarctic coast, climbing from sea level and scaling the Polar Plateau. Prior experience is required for this extreme expedition. Contact PolarExplorers for more information here.


  • Itinerary
  • Equipment List
  • Qualifications
  • Dates & Rates
  • Trip Insurance
  • Testimonials
  • Blogs

South Pole Full Daily Itinerary

Pre-expedition: Meet in Punta Arenas, Chile. Individual gear check. Official welcome reception and dinner in evening.

Day 1
Depart for Antarctica (weather permitting). The 4.5 hour flight will take us across the Drake Passage, past the coast of Antarctica and to the Union Glacier basecamp base camp.
Day 2-3
We'll spend two days at or near the Union Glacier basecamp base camp practicing our routine and ensuring that "all systems are go" before we depart for our starting point. This will likely include an overnight shakedown with our loaded sleds as well as time to acclimatize to the spectacular environment.
Day 5-60
A short flight by ski-equipped Twin Otter takes us to Hercules Inlet or the Messner Start, our two different starting points for this expedition. Depending on the route the first few days may see us climbing from approximately sea level to 800 meters. From Hercules Inlet, the Geographic South Pole lies over a thousand kilometers away (730 miles). From the Messner Start it lies 930 kilometers away (580 miles). The terrain will vary from wind blasted snow, to blue ice (very slick), to softer snow. We will also encounter sastrugi (wind patterns in the snow) which can range in size from a few centimeters to over a meter. As we make our way south, we'll pass beautiful nunataks (tips of mountains poking up through the snow) and see mountains both near and far. The temperatures may range significantly, but we can expect anything from -15c to -40 c. The wind will often be in our face as it pours off the Antarctic plateau towards the ocean. It will be one of the many challenges that we face on a daily basis. Additionally, we'll continue a gradual ascent from 800 meters to approximately 3,330 meters near the South Pole.
Day 60+
Extra time built into the itinerary for weather delays, rest days, etc.

South Pole FULL Expedition: Equipment List

Upon registration, you will receive a comprehensive PolarExplorers gear guide that explains the importance of each item as well as gear recommendations from our past participants.

  • 1 pair skis and ski poles
  • 1 pair skins covering the full length of your skis
  • 1 pair snow pack ski boots
  • Sleeping bag rated to at least -35° Celsius
  • Bivy sack
  • 2 sleeping pads
  • 1 wind anorak with hood
  • 1 wind pants
  • 1 insulated parka with hood
  • 1 warm fleece jacket and pants
  • 2 sets synthetic underwear, medium weight top and bottom- 2nd set optional
  • 3 sets mitts: 1 regular, 1 overmitts, 1 spare regular mitts or gloves
  • 2 pair liner or "working" gloves
  • 2 hats: 1 lightweight balaclava, 1 ski type
  • 2 neck gaiters
  • 3 pair socks and sock liners
  • 1 face mask
  • Sun glasses and/ or mountain ski glasses
  • 2 pr. anti-fog goggles
  • 1 sturdy small backpack with waist belt and sternum strap
  • 2 Thermos bottles or insulated water bottles
  • 1 set eating utensils with bowl
  • Pocket knife / multi-tool
  • Personal toiletries
  • 1 pee bottle (small plastic bottle)
  • Face cream, lip protection
  • 4 carabiners

PolarExplorers FULL South Pole Expedition Qualifications

This is an extremely challenging expedition designed for people looking for and prepared for the ultimate adventure. A resume of your previous expedition experience and approval of the guide is required for your participation. Full medical evacuation insurance is required. Please contact us for more details.


South Pole Full Dates & Rates

2014 Dates

November 17, 2015 – January 20, 2016 (Hercules Inlet Start)

November 17, 2015 - January 14, 2016 (Messner Start)


Please contact us for pricing


Includes all accommodations and meals while in Antarctica, guide(s), permits, communication & safety gear.

Expeditions Trip Insurance

Trip cancellation insurance is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for every PolarExplorers expedition.

Medical Evacuation insurance with a minimum coverage of $300,000 USD is required on every PolarExplorers expedition.

Select a policy below to receive a quote or purchase a policy:

I live in the USA or Canada

Travelex Insurance

Choose the TRAVEL SELECT policy and add the ADVENTURE PLUS PAK to receive appropriate medical evacuation coverage.

Travel Guard

Trip Cancellation & Medical Evacuation Purchase the policy within 14 days to get a pre-exisisting medical condition wavier.

Single Trip Medical Evacuation

Important! You must include the optional Adventure Sports coverage upgrade if you are climbing any mountains or traveling in rope teams. (Pre-existing medical coverage is not available with this policy.)

I live Outside the USA or Canada

Travelex Insurance

Important! Add the ADVENTURE PLUS PAK to receive appropriate medical evacuation coverage.

South Pole FULL Expedition Testimonials

Bryony BalenMany thanks to everyone at PolarExplorers for making this expedition possible for me. I enjoyed every minute of it (even though I didn't expect to) and that was in part due to our guide's leadership.

Bryony Balen


Dennis WoodsIf you are seriously considering this trip you should do it. Make sure you have an iPod that has lots of fast, upbeat music. Train until it hurts for at least 6 months before departure. Take Jelly Babies and insist on lots of beer nuts from PolarExplorers.

Dennis Woods

Don't undertake this expedition lightly. Be prepared, put some weight on and get your head in the right place before you start.

Bryony Balen

  • All back in Punta Arenas

    Lieve, Koen and Rick are now all back in Punta Arenas after a flight on Saturday from Union Glacier. Spending the first couple of nights in a bed (ahhhh!!!) no doubt feels like a real treat after a few weeks in sleeping bags on expedition. We wish the best of luck to our team members as they embark on their next adventure(s).

    Written on Monday, 26 January 2015 19:22 in 2015 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • Wohoo! Back at Union Glacier, hope for Punta tomorrow

    We just heard from our team they are back at Union Glacier. This is a very welcome change after being stuck at Vinson Base Camp for five nights. At Union Glacier they can have a shower (ahhh!!) and the food is wonderful. The scenery is not so bad either. Lieve, who has been at Union Glacier awaiting their return, is surely happy to have their company. 

    Written on Friday, 23 January 2015 23:17 in 2015 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • Good weather and fingers are crossed.

    The team reported today that after five nights at Vinson basecamp the weather appears good for flying both at VBC and at Union Glacier basecamp. People are excited and anticipating the flight back to UG and then onwards to Punta Arenas tomorrow. Though weather delays can be long and frustrating, it helps that Vinson basecamp has some of the best scenery in the world to admire (when it's not a white-out).

    Written on Friday, 23 January 2015 15:18 in 2015 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • Still stuck at VBC (Vinson Base Camp)

    The weather clears a little, then clouds back over, making it not great for flying. Our team remains at Vinson Base Camp awaiting their flight back to Union Glacier. Their next opportunity to fly back to Punta Arenas is on January 24. Our fingers are crossed that the weather clears by then!

    Written on Wednesday, 21 January 2015 23:03 in 2015 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • Chilling at Vinson

    The Vinson team is still awaiting transport back to Union Glacier. The fog socking in Vinson Base Camp as well as snow at Union Glacier have prevented planes from flying this evening. They will wait and reassess in the morning to see if conditions are suitable. 

    We'll keep you posted.

    Written on Tuesday, 20 January 2015 22:41 in 2015 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • Back down at Vinson Basecamp, awaiting good weather to fly

    The team reported in yesterday that they had descended back to Vinson Base Camp and they are now awaiting their flight back to Union Glacier.

    Written on Monday, 19 January 2015 17:35 in 2015 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • Success! Koen and Rick summit Vinson.

    Today at around 5 PM local time Koen and Rick reached the summit of Vinson after a nice climb from High Camp in calm conditions.

    Written on Sunday, 18 January 2015 03:32 in 2015 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • Low Camp to High Camp in beautiful weather

    Koen and Rick called in to say they had a nice ascent from Low Camp to High Camp en route to the summit of Vinson. Last night they had Low Camp to themselves while 52 climbers shared High Camp. Tonight they have High Camp almost all to themselves, having passed the descending climbers who are headed home.

    Written on Saturday, 17 January 2015 02:39 in 2015 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • Beautiful flight to Vinson and on to Low Camp

    The team reported in today that they spent the morning at Union Glacier observing a 100K marathon (thanks to foggy weather that delayed their flight). Later in the afternoon the weather cleared and they were able to fly to Vinson Base Camp where Koen and Rick departed for Low Camp. Lieve, down with a nasty respiratory infection, returned to Union Glacier. The flight was incredible with stunning views of the mountains below.

    Written on Friday, 16 January 2015 05:01 in 2015 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • Goodbye to Roger and onwards to Vinson! (SP Last Degree/Vinson)

    Today the team left the South Pole via Twin Otter plane for the Union Glacier basecamp. Along the way they flew over the beautiful polar plateau that they know so well, and past stunning mountains. When they landed they had a celebration with the official PolarExplorers South Pole cocktail "Aurora Australis" (that's one part chmpagne, one part vodka, one small handfull of snow, and a swish with your finger). It's surprisingly good!

    Written on Thursday, 15 January 2015 04:14 in 2015 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • Success! They reach the South Pole! (SP Last Degree)

    Woo hoo! The South Pole Last Degree Expedition reached the South Pole today in the late afternoon amidst cold temperatures, but a mostly sunny sky. They awoke to near whiteout conditions but by the time they broke camp the weather had cleared and they were able to see the South Pole station, officially called the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. 

    Written on Wednesday, 14 January 2015 04:04 in 2015 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • Within sight of the Pole, if they could see! (SP Last Degree)

    Today the team had their most challenging day. Though the temperature may have been slightly warmer than yesterday there was a 10-15 kt wind out of the east that stole any warmth their bodies generated. Add to that an overcast sky that eventually turned into a total whiteout. This type of day is rarely fun, but you wouldn't know that from listening to the team. 

    Written on Tuesday, 13 January 2015 03:53 in 2015 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • Coldest day yet, and 10 miles closer (SP Last Degree)

    The team reported in today that they had another "bluebird" day with lots of sun and only a light wind, but the temperature was noticeably colder, hovering around -30C. This makes it the coldest day yet.

    Written on Monday, 12 January 2015 02:59 in 2015 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • End of expedition and final blog (SP Full)

    It is hard to believe that this is the final blog entry from the 2014-2015 PolarExplorers Full South Pole Ski Expedition. For the longest time the expedition felt like it would never arrive, then (especially for the skiers) it probably felt like it would never end!

    Written on Sunday, 11 January 2015 00:20 in 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition
  • More than half way there! (SP Last Degree)

    The South Pole Last Degree team reported today that they had a great day despite it being the coldest day of the expedition (around -28C). There was partial sun that disappeared for the last hour and a half of their travel. Their current position is S 89.34, W 72.19.

    Written on Saturday, 10 January 2015 23:52 in 2015 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition


Email Us
Phone 1.847.256.4409
Toll-Free USA/CAN. 800.732.7328

Email Us
Phone 1.847.256.4409
Toll-Free USA/CAN. 800.732.7328

Select Language

English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish
Facebook Twitter YouTube Vimeo

Looking for Something?

Are you ready to join us on a polar expedition?

Here are your PolarExplorers Forms. To register please complete and return the PolarExplorers Application. We will send you an invoice for your deposit.

Download Now PolarExplorers Application
Download Now Planning Your Polar Adventure
Download Now PolarExplorers Medical Form
Download Now PolarExplorers Insurance Form

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletters