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, 2014 – January 24, 2015 (Hercules Inlet Start)

November 17, 2014 - January 14, 2015 (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

  • Happy Thanksgiving to our Team

    The guys have enjoyed another great day of progress toward the pole. The day began cloudy but cleared up in the afternoon. The team covered 12 nautical miles over 8.5 hours of travel in -12°C temperatures. As you can see in their photo, the men are in good spirits and we are thankful for it.

    More to come tomorrow.

    Written on Friday, 28 November 2014 00:32 in 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition
  • Nice weather but rougher snow conditions

    Our team reported in today that they had another great day. They covered 12 nautical miles with clear skies and a temperature of -13 C. There was slightly more wind today with the average being 3 kts from the south.

    Written on Wednesday, 26 November 2014 23:37 in 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition
  • Day One on the Trail

    The team had a great day today. They covered 13 nautical miles and gained 300 ft. of elevation in 8.5 hours of travel. The weather is clear and calm with unlimited visibility. Temps were hovering arouind -10°C and the guys were actually getting a little hot while skiing. Spirits are still high and the team is ready to get back at it tomorrow.

    Listen to Keith as he recaps yesterday.

    Written on Tuesday, 25 November 2014 23:30 in 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition
  • The Expedition is Finally Underway

    The team is finally on their way! They were dropped off at 5:30pm today and decided to ski for a bit before making camp for their first of many nights on the trail. The temperature was -10 C and calm with some wispy clouds high up. Today the team covered 1.7 nautical miles.

    All members are very excited to finally be underway and anxious to put on some real mileage tomorrow.

    Stay tuned!

    Written on Tuesday, 25 November 2014 01:16 in 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition
  • Arrived at Union Glacier

    The guys left Punta Arenas this morning at 10am and arrived at Union Glacier Base Camp at 2:20pm. It is a Beautiful day at base camp. No wind and a temperature of -11C. Tents are up and they are settling in. The team plans to head out tomorrow for an overnight gear shakedown and return the following day to depart for the Messner route starting point. Stay warm and stay tuned!

    Written on Sunday, 23 November 2014 01:19 in 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition
  • Up Up and Away... Soon

    Nothing left for the team to do now but sit on their hands and wait for the flight to Antarctica. After a meeting today, hopes are high that the weather will allow a flight tomorrow to Union Glacier Base Camp on an Ilyushin IL76. Check out a video of the plane they will be flying on here.

    The team is in high spirits, bu anxious to trade their shoes for boots and skis. We'll keep you posted as the flight developments arise.

    Written on Friday, 21 November 2014 23:06 in 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition
  • 14 Days and Counting!

    It's hard to believe that in two weeks Stuart, Tom, Nat and Chris will be meeting in Punta Arenas, Chile to embark on their South Pole Expedition. All their food and gear has been shipped to Punta Arenas, where it has arrived safely. Upon arrival in Punta the boys will unpack and repack their kits, making lists and count them twice to make sure that everything is in order.

    They will be reporting in daily with their progress and position. Make sure to check back starting on December 4th for the official start to this blog.

    Meet the team here!

    Written on Thursday, 20 November 2014 19:39 in 2014 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • The Calm Before the Craziness
    The team phone in today that they are all done with the hard work... the hard work of packing, that is. Their kit has been sorted, re-sorted, packed just the way they want it, weighed and collected.  Now they can relax, eat some good food and visualize the journey ahead.
    As you can see from the photo of Andy they are all about business with little room for pleasure. In reality they are having a great time and they feel good about their progress so far. Tomorrow they have a final meeting with the logistical support crew and a social hour in the evening with other people who will be on their flight to Antarctica.
    Our fingers are crossed that the weather will hold for their flight on Friday! Make sure to listen to the audio update from the team (they each say hello and they are EXCITED!). Congrats to Ian for winning the "guess the weight contest". Unfortunately the call cuts out just as Bradley introduces the "Uber, excited, and already practicing his walking, Andy Styles!
    We will have to catch Andy's update next time.
    Check back again soon!

    (Haven't met the team yet? Read their bio's here)

    Written on Thursday, 20 November 2014 19:20 in 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition
  • South Pole Last Degree Ski Team (December)

    Meet our intrepid South Pole Last Degree Ski Team, made up of Stuart Mitchell, Tom Henderson and Nat Greene along with PolarExplorers guide Chris Maher. Follow along on their expedition here!

    Meet our team!

    Stuart Mitchell - United Kingdom

    Stuart has his own investment management business based in London. He specialises in European equities. He is a keen mountaineer and has always dreamt of going to the South Pole. He is married with 3 young children and is a keen pianist.


    Nat Greene - United Kingdom, USA

    I have never planned to visit the South Pole but when Stuart asked me to go in May I surprised myself and said yes.  So far I have really enjoyed the training and learning about how to survive in extreme conditions.  The shakedown trip in Iceland was a must and full of leadership lessons.

    My wife and four kids are excited that I am going and supportive if somewhat nervous.  I live in Marblehead, MA and run a consulting practice.


    Chris Maher - USA

    Chris Maher loves cold weather and the two activities that go best with it - skiing and running dogs. His passion for the adventurous life has led him to Greenland where he has guided expeditions on both coasts and has lived in Scoresbysund. When he's not guiding or training his own dog teams you'll find him in Alaska or along the Canadian border running freight by dog teams for the US Forest Service. Chris is easy to like, positive, and he's got enough energy to power the sun on a cloudy day.

    Written on Thursday, 20 November 2014 16:47 in 2014 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • Off and Running

    The team reported in late yesterday. Everyone eagerly waiting in Punta Arenas and making their final preparations for travel to Antarctica. The cargo has been unpacked and organized. All are double and triple-checking their personal kit and trimming it down to the essentials for thriving (not just surviving) the long days of skiing ahead. Stay tuned for audio updates as the expedition progresses, and enjoy a picture of Ian Evans (who will be the oldest Canadian to ski the full distance to the South Pole).

    Tomorrow the team will continue packing and spend some time shopping to round out their lunch supplies foe the entire expedition.

    Written on Monday, 17 November 2014 14:52 in 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition
  • The gear is on its way!

    Wohoo! All our food and much of our kit for our South Pole expedition season is on its way to Chile. Over 200 kg of high calorie food made up the bulk of the cargo. When we get to Punta Arenas we will be repacking and organizing the food into rations that will be dropped to the expedition.

    In a little over one week the first team members will head to Chile. Everyone will gather in Punta Arenas on November 16 to kick off the expedition.

    Make sure to check back on the 16th for the official start of this blog. And don't forget to meet the team members here.

    Written on Tuesday, 04 November 2014 19:32 in 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition
  • Full South Pole Team

    Meet the hearty team members of our 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition.

    Written on Wednesday, 29 October 2014 00:00 in 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition
  • Two weeks and counting...

    How quickly time flies! It seems like just yesterday that this expedition was more than a year off. Now it is just around the corner!

    Our 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition using the Messner Route will kick off in Punta Arenas on November 16. After several days of preparations the team will depart for Antarctica on November 21.

    We invite you to follow their progress, hear about their triumphs and struggles and learn about Antarctica!

    This blog will officially start on November 16, 2014, so check back soon!

    Written on Thursday, 30 October 2014 04:15 in 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition
  • Expedition Iceland's Final Day

    Returning from Vatnajökull

    After a good night's rest the team had an early start to their last day on the Vatnajokull.

    Written on Thursday, 29 May 2014 21:26 in Expedition Updates
  • An Epic Day Skirting The Crevasses
    An Epic Day Skirting The Crevasses

    Ski crossing of Vatnajökull

    The team woke up this morning with very low visibility, but pressed on toward the goal of camping at the base of Hvannadalshnjukur.

    Written on Wednesday, 28 May 2014 21:11 in Expedition Updates


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