FULL South Pole Ski Expedition
Are you a serious adventurer looking for the challenge of a lifetime? Join us for the 2018-2019 South Pole season by embarking on this very demanding & deeply rewarding expedition. The Full South Pole Expedition challenges even the most experienced adventurers. Expect persistent winds, heavy sleds, eight to ten hours of skiing each day and temperatures plunging well below zero. Expect also pristine wilderness, surreal beauty and an opportunity to get to know Antarctica's many moods. Polar exploration at its finest!
Like early polar explorers you will embark for the South Pole from the edge of Antarctica, climbing from sea level and scaling the Polar Plateau. Prior experience is required for this extreme expedition. Contact PolarExplorers for more information here.
- Equipment List
- Dates & Rates
- Trip Insurance
South Pole Full Daily Itinerary
Pre-expedition: Meet in Punta Arenas, Chile for individual gear checks, review of expedition procedures & a variety of logistical preparations.
- Day 1 (November 18, 2018)
- Depart for Antarctica. The 4.5 hour flight will take us across the Drake Passage, past the coast of Antarctica and to the Union Glacier basecamp.
- 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 5-47
- 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 48+
- 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
November 13, 2018 - January 14, 2019 (Messner Start)
Please contact us for pricing and availability.
Includes all accommodations and meals while in Antarctica, guide(s), permits, communication & safety gear.
Expedition 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.
Ensure that your policy covers your activity, destination and any pre-existing medical conditions (to cover pre-existing medical conditions you may need to purchase your policy within 14 days or less of your initial deposit).
If you are mountaineering check that the policy covers roped technical mountain travel and the elevation limit that you will have.
Ripcord Insurance (For non-US residents use the Offer Code "ripcordintl" which will enable you to receive quotes and/or purchase policies.) If your expedition is more than USD $30,000 you may need to send an email to: ClientServices@redpointresolutions.com or call them at +1 617-307-4636
If you live in the USA you have additional options.
Travelex Insurance - Choose the TRAVEL SELECT policy and add the ADVENTURE PLUS PAK to receive appropriate medical evacuation coverage.
Travel Guard has comprehensive policies that include trip cancellation or you can purchase a 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.)
South Pole FULL Expedition Testimonials
Many 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
If 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
It's a wrap!
Your well wishes and crossed fingers worked! The weather cleared and our team departed from Kulusuk this afternoon, saying their final farewell's to Greenland. It was a fitting end to a trip filled with weather delays, storms, & holding patterns, but also plenty of good times and rewarding days and above all a brilliant team.
Thanks to everyone who followed this blog, and thanks to our amazing Greenland team. Heather, Dale, Ian, John, Eric, Taylor, Salo and Julius, you had us wondering how it would all end and we are delighted to have been a part of your adventure.
Until next time!
Greenland Weather Strikes Again!
The team left Tasiilaq this morning on a short helicopter flight to the airport at Kulusuk. They were scheduled to fly to Reykjavik, Iceland a couple hours later.
Photos From Yesterday
We received these photos late last night. Looks like a GREAT end to the expedition! Check back again today for more...
A huge CONGRATULATIONS is in order for our team who reached their final waypoint at approximately 11:30 AM Greenland time and successfully finished their crossing of the Greenland icecap, woohoo!!!!
The Day Described With Four W's
The team could describe today using four words that start with W: wind, whiteout, warm and wet.
Chicken Strips and French Fries!
What does it say when the blog title is about food? Well, for starters food is in the top three things people think about while skiing all day every day...
Better Than Yesterday, But Still Hard
It was another tough day on the Greenland icecap. It was made that way mostly by the fresh, deep snow. The visibility was terrible again but towards the afternoon they got some breaks with a little sunshine. Oh what a sight!
Skiing in a Whiteout
Tough day today. The visibility was nil, there was absolutely no contrast, there was wind in the face, and snow. A whole lot of nothing to look at but the backs of team mates and the butts of dogs.
Getting It Done
This team is getting it done, one day at a time. Today another 37 km are behind them. They are tired but satisfied and the end of the expedition is not too far beyond the horizon.
Making Progress - Another 37 km
The team made great progress today, putting 37 km behind them. The weather was a little of everything. Cloudy, snowy, a little sun, always the wind.
On The Move Again
A day after being tent bound by strong winds the team was back at it. They made 32 kilometers in a slightly modified way of travel.
Another Day, Another Storm
We thought this might happen, but it's not all bad. Another storm day. Strong winds, cold temperatures and low visibility all combine to keep out teams in their tents today.
Shortened Day Due To Wind
It was a beautiful day today, but it was also a cold day and the wind just kept coming and coming (almost a direct headwind). It all started out OK with clear skies but as the wind picked up the ground visibility went down, and with temperatures hovering around 0° F the windchill was REALLY cold.
Cold and Windy But Good
Welcome to another day on the Greenland icecap, where today the wind and the cold were on the minds of our team. They did a great job, putting almost 30km behind them.
Another 30 km Day
Actually it was 30.2 km - a seemingly small difference, but not if you are the person who did all the skiing! They'll take every tenth of a kilometer that they can get!