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

  • Back in Longyearbyen, expedition wrap up

    What a wonderful expedition it was!

    The last couple of days were busy and exciting. After the Air Berlin fly by and pick up from the Pole the team spent the night near the Barneo runway in their own tents. The next morning (April 24) they walked over the the Barneo Ice Camp where they met some Russian military personnel who were very welcoming. Andrew impressed all with his Russian hat and made friends with one of the Russian commanders who removed his own hat paratrooper pin and gave it to Andrew. Our team spent around a half hour at Barneo then hustled back to board the flight back to Longyearbyen.

    Andrew and Russian paratroop commander. Photo by James Bayly.

    Upon return they enjoyed showers, clean clothes and a great wrap up dinner where a lot of fun was had by all. We are looking forward to sharing more pictures on Facebook soon.

    It has been such a pleasure to work with this team. Mike, Andrew and James have been wonderful, hard working, dedicated, positive and enjoyable. From the preparations to the expedition itself we have been honored to be working with them.

    Thank for following the blog from this expedition. Stay tuned for our upcoming Vatnajökull Ski Traverse blog that will begin on May 17. Vatnajökull is Europe's largest glacier covering almost 8% of Iceland! We'll be crossing the glacier by ski & pulk and we welcome you to follow along on what will surely be an exciting adventure.

    Written on Tuesday, 26 April 2016 14:19 in 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Blog
  • Day at the North Pole

    While waiting for extraction, the team spent all day today enjoying their time at the Geographic North Pole. There are still several other teams en route to the pole that will be getting air-lifted out together. The guys took advantage of the extra time by having a second photo shoot (photos coming soon) and relaxing in their tents.

    Written on Sunday, 24 April 2016 00:15 in 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Blog
  • Success! The Pole!

    Great news! The team reached the North Pole today at 4:30 PM local time. Way to go team!!

    They awoke to an overcast sky but the wind had died down from yesterday to around 5-10 kts. The temperature had also warmed to around 0 F. There was a light snow falling as they skied.

    Again they passed through zones of pressure separated by a few decent sized pans. Traveling on pan ice is a wonderful break from the zig zagging of navigating pressure ridges. It allows you to travel must faster and it's a nice break for the mind as well.

    The last two nautical miles to the pole were increasingly pressurized. They were doing lots of skiing to the east or west without much northwards progress. They reached one large pressure ridge and Keith paused to ask the team which way they thought would be best. Andrew immediately answered, "to the right of course!" (Andrew is an active member of the New Zealand National Party).

    Finally they were in the home stretch and James led the final distance to the Geographic North Pole. 

    They celebrated their significant achievement before setting up camp where the party is continuing on. They are making calls home and drinking the Aurora Borealis cocktails (that's 1/2 champagne, 1/2 vodka and a handful of snow from the Geographic North Pole). 

    Everyone is doing great and all are having a good time. 

    Here's a shot of them celebrating with their Aurora Borealis cocktails

    We are awaiting their audio update so check back again soon!

    Congratulations to our entire team! Andrew, James, Mike and Keith, you all did a superb job and we are thrilled that you are now celebrating at the top of the world. Enjoy it!

    Written on Friday, 22 April 2016 18:24 in 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Blog
  • The Home Stretch

    Current Position N 89°49'41" E 135°27'10"

    That puts our team at just over 10 nautical miles away from the North Pole! 

    Written on Thursday, 21 April 2016 19:29 in 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Blog
  • Progressing Steadily

    Current position (N 89° 37' 16" E 123° 49' 32")

    The Last Degree team made excellent progress again today as they navigated over and around an increasing number of pressure ridges and rubble zones, followed by a long flat pan of ice. Their tenacious pace, coupled with positive drift, (1.5 nautical miles overnight) has put them well ahead of schedule as they approach the 2/3 mark of the expedition.

    Written on Wednesday, 20 April 2016 20:44 in 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Blog
  • Another beautiful day

    Today the team reports another beautiful day. The temperature was slightly colder, around -6 F with a 3-5 kt wind coming from their backs. The sky was clear for most of the day and remains clear tonight. If you are thinking that this means a starry sky keep in mind that they have 24 hour sunlight. The sun rotates overhead but never dips at all.

    Written on Tuesday, 19 April 2016 19:10 in 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Blog
  • Great first day on the ice

    It was a beautiful day on the pack ice. Sunny, slight wind from behind, a pleasant -3 F, and no open water. 

    Written on Monday, 18 April 2016 19:23 in 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Blog
  • Andrew's birthday celebrated with a flight to the ice!

    It was a good day for a birthday. Though the day started with more waiting (their flight was postponed from 3 PM to 6 PM) the team finally go the call to quickly head to the airport.

    Written on Monday, 18 April 2016 03:10 in 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Blog
  • Runway repaired, team scheduled to fly tomorrow

    The good news about today is that the runway at Barneo has been repaired and two flights were made which helped to clear up the backlog of flights.

    Written on Sunday, 17 April 2016 02:20 in 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Blog
  • Sleds at airport, the team is ready to go.

    Today our team spent the day in Longyearbyen. They were meant to fly to the ice today but because of a crack in the runway and a backlog of flights from an earlier crack they are still awaiting their flight.

    Written on Saturday, 16 April 2016 04:04 in 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Blog
  • A busy day of preparations but time for some fun too

    Today the team spent time reviewing tents and stoves and doing all their final packing of sleds. They took some time to review polar bear safety and made a special trip to the firing range to test the shotgun and set off some flares.

    Written on Thursday, 14 April 2016 20:29 in 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Blog
  • Kickoff for the 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition!

    Our North Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition officially kicked off tonight with a welcome reception. Everyone is in Longyearbyen and excited for the upcoming expedition.

    Written on Wednesday, 13 April 2016 20:32 in 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Blog
  • Meet the team!

    We'd like to introduce our intrepid 2016 North Pole Last Degree Skiers:

    Written on Tuesday, 22 March 2016 00:00 in 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Blog
  • 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition

    Welcome to the 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition blog!

    Written on Wednesday, 23 March 2016 19:30 in 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Blog

 


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


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Phone 1.847.256.4409
Toll-Free USA/CAN. 800.732.7328

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