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

2016-2017 Dates

November 11, 2016 – January 9, 2017 (Hercules Inlet Start)

November 11, 2016 - January 3, 2017 (Messner Start)

Price

Please contact us for pricing

Inclusions

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

  • Emperor Penguins

    The team woke early for an excursion to the Emperor Penguin colony, but the flight ended up being delayed for several hours. Eventually, after the delay had been sorted out, half of the team made the flight to the penguin colony and had the chance to explore around for an hour and a half. At this time of year, the chicks are very large, but still easily recognizable by their thick grey downy feathers. The other half of the team went to explore the nearby ice caves. Warm temperatures have caused the commonly empty cave to have a river rushing through it, but they still had an amazing hike on the ice shelf. 

    Tomorrow, the other half of the group is scheduled for an early flight to the penguin colony, and the rest of the team will be preparing for the flight to the South Pole on Sunday!

    Written on Friday, 09 December 2016 22:42 in South Pole & Emperor Penguins
  • Exploring Ice Caves

    It was a beautiful day today in Antarctica. Not a cloud in the sky and very comfortable temperatures. The group spent the afternoon exploring ice caves at the base of a mountain glacier. In the morning they flew kites. The plan for tomorrow is in flux pending a few logistical considerations. We will keep you posted.

    The team is staying in an area known as the Schirmacher Oasis. This is a 25 m by 3 km ice free area (hence the name "Oasis") that has roughly 100 freshwater lakes. It is named after the German pilot who first spotted the oasis while surveying Antarctica by air. It it a desert and is remarkably scenic. We are hoping to post some larger pictures so check back soon!

    Written on Thursday, 08 December 2016 00:00 in South Pole & Emperor Penguins
  • Arrival in Antarctica

    The team has touched down in Antarctica!

    The 6-hour flight was smooth and conditions were cloudy but calm when the plane touched down. From the runway, the team was transferred 12km to The Oasis for a nice lunch. They had time to settle into their accommodations before going for a hike to see the ice shelf. 

    Everyone is in great spirits and settled in after a nice dinner. If the weather improves tomorrow, the team plans to go see the ice cave near base camp.

    Stay tuned!

    Written on Wednesday, 07 December 2016 22:22 in South Pole & Emperor Penguins
  • Getting Ready for Takeoff

    Yesterday the team had their Pre-Flight briefing where they reviewed the details of the expedition and received their boarding passes. During the briefing, they were also introduced to Richard, an official from the South African government who will be shadowing our group to observe polar commercial travel for future legislation.

    After picking up their Polar outerwear, the team feels ready and excited to embark! Next stop, Antarctica!

     

    Written on Wednesday, 07 December 2016 15:41 in South Pole & Emperor Penguins
  • The adventure begins!

    Welcome to our South Pole & Emperor Penguin expedition blog. The team has gathered in Cape Town in advance of their departure to Antarctica. All are well and looking forward to the upcoming journey. We received this dispatch today from the team:

    Written on Monday, 05 December 2016 20:51 in South Pole & Emperor Penguins
  • Our 2017 South Pole and Vinson Blogs start on January 1, 2017

    Throughout the USA, Canada, the UK and elsewhere people are organizing their kit, pulling tires and getting ready for our upcoming South Pole and Mt. Vinson expeditions. You'll be able to follow along with the expeditions right here. Check back again on January 1 for the first dispatch. 

     

    Written on Tuesday, 22 November 2016 18:49 in 2017 South Pole and Mount Vinson Blogs
  • Emperor Penguin & South Pole Blog starts on December 5th!

    An intrepid team of adventurers will soon depart from Cape Town, South Africa to explore some of the best parts of Antarctica. This includes a visit to an emperor penguin colony and a trip to the Geographic South Pole. This blog will kick off on December 5th. Please check back then to read about the team's activities and to hear daily audio dispatches. 

     

    Written on Tuesday, 15 November 2016 00:00 in South Pole & Emperor Penguins

 


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

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