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

2015 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

  • Shackleton Poetry Slam to celebrate final night together

    The team celebrated one of the final evenings of the expedition with a Poetry Slam in honor of the Boss himself, Ernest Shackleton.

    Written on Friday, 20 November 2015 00:00 in 2015 Shackleton Crossing of South Georgia Island
  • Leaving South Georgia

    The seas have been large since leaving South Georgia and today was no exception.

    Written on Wednesday, 18 November 2015 16:13 in 2015 Shackleton Crossing of South Georgia Island
  • Happy Birthday in a Protected Bay

    Happy Birthday to Barry Gray on our Shackleton Crossing Team! Keep up the good recovery work.

    Written on Saturday, 14 November 2015 00:00 in 2015 Shackleton Crossing of South Georgia Island
  • Completing the Shackleton Walk

    Even though the biggest part of the expedition was complete, the team had a wonderful and packed day yesterday as they landed at a King Penguin colony to enjoy South Georgia's world renowned biodiversity.

    Written on Sunday, 15 November 2015 18:46 in 2015 Shackleton Crossing of South Georgia Island
  • Success on the Shackleton Crossing

    The team completed their Crossing of South Georgia Island yesterday! Early yesterday afternoon the team was picked up by zodiac and rendezvoused with the rest of their shipmates at Fortuna bay where the Plancius was waiting for them.

    Written on Friday, 13 November 2015 15:30 in 2015 Shackleton Crossing of South Georgia Island
  • Making Miles in High Winds

    The Shackleton Crossing team has had a long and grueling day covering roughly 14km across the Fortuna Glacier. However, the sun came out and gave them a welcome opportunity to use their sunscreen, which has been relatively untouched. 

    Written on Wednesday, 11 November 2015 22:40 in 2015 Shackleton Crossing of South Georgia Island
  • Over the Trident Ridge

    If there were one word to describe our team's experience today it would be.... WINDY!

    Written on Tuesday, 10 November 2015 21:11 in 2015 Shackleton Crossing of South Georgia Island
  • Approaching South Georgia Island

    The PolarExplorers team is making their final preparations for the crossing of South Georgia Island as the destination draws nearer. 

    Written on Monday, 09 November 2015 00:00 in 2015 Shackleton Crossing of South Georgia Island
  • Crossing South Georgia Island: Part 1

    This morning the crossing of South Georgia Island officially began. The team had a hearty breakfast aboard the Plancius before getting shuttled to shore by zodiac. A welcome party of fur seals, elephant seals, and penguins greeted them as they unloaded and began preparing to travel.

    Written on Monday, 09 November 2015 17:16 in 2015 Shackleton Crossing of South Georgia Island
  • En Route to South Georgia

    After 6 days of being on the water, the Plancius has finally turned toward the main goal of the expedition, South Georgia Island. As of our last contact with the team at 8pm November 7th (UTC-2), they were approximately 1/3 of the way to South Georgia Island from The Falklands. After leaving the protection of the Falkland Islands, the ship once again entered into big seas, but with their sea legs still strong, no one on board have had trouble with the rolling and bucking of the ship.

    Below you'll find two of our recent Audio Updates. Parts of the calls are garbled, but still very interesting to hear.

    Written on Sunday, 08 November 2015 16:01 in 2015 Shackleton Crossing of South Georgia Island
  • The Falklands Islands

    The team arrived at Steeple Jason Island in the Falklands yesterday morning. The protection of the islands was welcome for all on board as it gave a respite from the rocking swells they had been enduring for the last two days.

    Written on Thursday, 05 November 2015 22:35 in 2015 Shackleton Crossing of South Georgia Island
  • Seas Build Overnight

    Update from Expedition Leader Annie Aggens:

    The wind and waves picked up overnight and we were rocking and rolling all day. Waves were splashing over the bow and coming as high as the dining room windows. By 4 PM the wind was was sustained at 36 knots and the max gust was 64 knots. Seas 4-5 meters with an occasional 6-7 meter wave. Most people are faring OK. Some of us retreat to our rooms for some time lying flat on our beds.

    We expect to reach the Falklands early tomorrow morning and dock on the Northeast side of Steeple Jason Island.

    Written on Wednesday, 04 November 2015 22:43 in 2015 Shackleton Crossing of South Georgia Island
  • Rocky Seas Mark The Day

    The team has been enduring big seas for the last day but our guides report that the our team is fairing well. While the seas are 3-5 meters average and occasionally larger, the motion of the boat is mostly pitching rather than rolling. There were two lectures on board today about the Falkland Islands along with one on photography and the team even took some time to set up their tents on the bouncing back deck. 

    Setting up tents on the Plancius 2012

    Written on Tuesday, 03 November 2015 22:25 in 2015 Shackleton Crossing of South Georgia Island
  • Aboard the Plancius

    The day began casually as our team took the last opportunity explore around Puerto Madryn and take care of any last minute shopping. When 3:00PM arrived, the team boarded the m/v Plancius to settle in. One checked in to their rooms, everyone on board took part in a safety briefing and life boat drills before the ship left port around 6:00PM. The team spent the rest of the afternoon continuing to settle into their new home and observing the multitude of Southern Right Whales congregating in and around the bay.

    m/v Plancius

    Written on Monday, 02 November 2015 22:44 in 2015 Shackleton Crossing of South Georgia Island
  • South Georgia Island Begins

    Ernest Shackleton himself best described the mood of our team today when he once said, "After months of want and hunger, we suddenly found ourselves able to have meals fit for the gods, and with appetites the gods might have envied." The hunger of our team is that for adventure and camaraderie in the coming weeks together.

    SGI Welcome Reception

    Written on Monday, 02 November 2015 00:27 in 2015 Shackleton Crossing of South Georgia Island


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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