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)

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

  • Summer solstice and Sunday night dinner

    The Full South Pole team called in yesterday during their Sunday night dinner and it sounded like a party in the background. Laughter and banter could be heard inside the tent. The dinner was a fitting end to a good day of more than 12 nautical miles in overcast weather (also a fitting way to celebrate the summer solstice). The temperature was -20 C.

    Written on Monday, 22 December 2014 16:05 in 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition
  • Halfway

    The team is now over halfway to the pole in both distance and elevation gain! Yesterday was another beautiful day of skiing (-13 and sunny). They covered over 12.5 nautical miles in just over 8 hours. They have been able to easily navigate the sastrugi on the flats and power through the long inclines as well. All members are having a ball and motivation in still high. If you're curious what a typical day looks like in their ski boots, read below. 

    Listen as Ian gives the audio update.

    Written on Friday, 19 December 2014 21:48 in 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition
  • The Pole at Last

    Our Last Degree team led by Chris Maher has finally reached the bottom of the World! They made faster ground today than any day previously covering 8 miles in 5 hours. Upon arriving they spent some time at the Pole itself, taking pictures and reveling in their accomplishment followed by some "real food" and hot coffee. Afterword the guys had a private tour of the South Pole Station and loaded up on souvenirs from the gift shop. 

    They will be on a flight back to Union Glacier Base Camp this evening and make their way back to Punta Arenas from their where warm weather and fond farewells await. 

    Congratulations team! Next stop, North Pole?

    Written on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 23:10 in 2014 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • One Last Push

    It's come down to the last day. The team covered 8.5 nautical miles yesterday leaving them 8 miles away from the Pole.  As clouds moved in yesterday the temperatures dropped and the guys were using their stoves not only for cooking inside their tents, but for heat as well. While skiing yesterday the team got their first glimpses of the South Pole Station which was a welcome change from the blank horizon they have been seeing for the rest of the expedition.

    As of this moment, the team is pushing through the final miles to the pole and should be arriving at the Pole around 5:00PM (GMT-3) 

    Written on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 15:28 in 2014 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • Climbed 300 feet but it felt like more!

    Our Full South Pole ski team reported in yesterday that they had a good day, making 11.7 nautical miles in 8 hours and 45 minutes. They had clear weather with a 10 kt wind from the south that pushed at them all day. The temperature was -15C. The sleds felt a little lighter than yesterday, but still very heavy. They had a slow climb of 300 feet, steady all day, which made it feel like much more. Everyone is doing great and enjoying their company and surroundings. Check back again soon for another update!

    Written on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 21:46 in 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition
  • Meet the team!

    Our 2015 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition is kicking off in just under two weeks. Here you can meet the adventurous individuals that make up our team.

    My journey toward this expedition started some years ago with the book ENDURANCE by Alfred Lansing. Since then, Scott, Amundsen and other characters who have marked the history of the Antarctic have just drawn me closer. To feel the place, the physical and mental challenges and the environment first hand will undoubtedly be my gift to myself forever. I expect to meet some team members and guides who will only help me enjoy the experience, and look forward to sharing the lessons with my own company and team members at home, upon my return! I was raised in rural Manitoba and have canoed throughout the boreal forest as well as the Yukon and Nunavut Territories. To me, being in touch with some of the most remote parts of the natural world only makes us better human beings. It’s a big beautiful world beyond that pavement, and so little time…!

    Roger d'Eschambault Canada
    I am Lieve Glorieux, 48, mother of 4 grown-up kids. I ‘am fascinated by the nature in its purest way.  I love to travel, I’m always looking for new adventures, new challenges and I like to push my limits. This led me to a lot of great experiences in the Alps, nice trips to Scandinavia, Iceland, and expeditions on Spitsbergen, to the North Pole, the crossing of the Greenland Icecap, in Russia, Africa and Papua…

    After every trip, it’s nice to come back home, with family and friends, but soon, I get a little nervous and start looking for the next adventure. I am pretty sure, life will be too short to travel all the places I ‘d like to visit…

    For me, it is very nice to experience all this journeys with Koen, my husband and “first-class-expedition-buddy”.
    Lieve Glorieux Belgium

    Since we made several expeditions in the arctic and to the North Pole, South Pole seems the next logical challenge.As a mountaineer and adventurer, I switched to the next level, beyond the Alps, and have taken the challenge to climb the “Seven Summits”.  This gives me the opportunity to visit all the continents, to get to know foreign  cultures and to meet all these different people. Until now, I’ve reached three of the seven: Elbrus, Kilimanjaro and Carstensz Pyramid and I hope to add Mt Vinson and Aconcagua to my list after this trip. As an entrepreneur, I am used to prepare everything to the last detail, what I did in the preparation of this expedition. Both physically and technically, I want everything to be 100% OK. All my free time goes into training and the preparation of this expedition.

    Koen Wittevrongel Belgium

    Nikki Bart is a Doctor and adventurer. She is about to begin her medical specialization of Cardiology in February 2015. She is also on her way to completing a PhD in medicine at Oxford University, UK. Nikki is an Honours graduate and recipient of several scholarships including the prestigious Australian Sir John Monash Foundation scholarship. Nikki, together with her mother Cheryl, has climbed the Seven Summits and several other major peaks. She has skied to the North Pole. She also competes in marathons and adventure races. Nikki currently resides in Sydney.

    Nikki Bart Australia
    Cheryl Bart is a lawyer and  Company Director. She serves on the boards of a range of industries including energy, media and broadcasting, banking, finance, technology and football. She also serves on various pro bono organizations. Cheryl , together with her daughter Nikki , has climbed the Seven Summits as well as several other major peaks.
    She has also skiied to the South Pole ( yes this is her second time...) and mushed with a husky team to the North Pole.
    She competes in marathons and ocean racing. Cheryl resides in Sydney
    Cheryl Bart Australia
    Rick Sweitzer created and co-guided the first ever dogsled and ski expedition to the North Pole for amateur adventurers in 1993. Since then he has guided well over a dozen expeditions to the North and South Poles. Rick has been guiding winter mountaineering and ski expeditions for the last 25 years. He is an expert at spinning the "fun meter" and often hosts a "cocktail hour" in his tent at night. He is a legend in the industry and a great companion on the ice!
    Rick Sweitzer USA
    Written on Monday, 15 December 2014 21:37 in 2015 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • Respite From The Sun

    After several days of unrelenting sun our Last Degree team led by Chris Maher has been given a break. Yesterday some light clouds moved to shelter them as they covered another 8 nautical miles. The team is now fully acclimated and powering through each mile with a smile. All team members are in high spirits and are on track to make the Pole on the 17th. Did we mention that this expedition will be the first Last Degree expedition to the South Pole this year?! Keep up the good work guys.

    Stay tuned for more updates.

    Written on Monday, 15 December 2014 20:24 in 2014 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • South Pole Poetry Slam!

    Yesterday our South Pole team enjoyed the first ever Full South Pole Expedition Poetry Slam! Each of the guys had been been composing a poem for many days in preparation for this event and while all poems were excellent Bradley Cross was the unanimous winner with his poem entitled Four Men on a Journey South. Keith reads the winning poem in the audio update below. Other than that the team is in high spirits, continuing on their journey today. We will post their progress as we receive it.

    Written on Monday, 15 December 2014 16:32 in 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition
  • Two Days of Blazing Sun

    For the last two days our Last Degree team has been skiing in light layers. The temperatures are warm (relatively of course) and the cloudless sky provides no protection from the blazing sun. Fortunately this has allowed the team to make great progress toward the pole, covering a total of 16 nautical miles in the last 48 hours. They are now officially over halfway! 

    Stay tuned for more updates!

    Written on Saturday, 13 December 2014 23:24 in 2014 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • Load Up and Rest

    The Full South Pole team met their first cache yesterday and loaded up the sleds with 22 days worth of food, fuel, and other supplies. They quickly found that they'd gotten too used to how light the sleds had become! Today the guys are enjoying their first rest day of the expedition. 18 days of travel in a row! Good work gentlemen! You've earned a break. 

    Listen below as Andy and Bradley give us a detailed update. 

    And Andy, we'll work on getting you a Ski-doo with a full tank of petrol for Christmas, but no promises.

     Update from Ian Evans

    Written on Friday, 12 December 2014 17:11 in 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition
  • Picking up the Pace

    With their acclimatization complete, the Last Degree team has begun to pick up the pace. The team covered 8 miles yesterday in 7 hours of travel though ideal conditions. There are only 43 nautical miles and 7 days standing between them and the bottom of the world! 

    Written on Friday, 12 December 2014 17:04 in 2014 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • Acclimatizing is a Pain

    The team had their first full day alone on the ice yesterday. Several of them are having mild and expected reactions to the altitude, but all are in good spirits and excited to have the acclimatization over with. The common affects of altitude on the body are tiredness, lightheadedness,  and nausea but these generally pass after 2 days once the body has become accustomed to the new environment. 

    The Last Degree team covered 6 nautical miles in 5 hours of travel under a beautiful, sunny blue sky. They got a full nights rest last night to prepare for another push today. We'll keep you updated on their progress.

    Written on Thursday, 11 December 2014 15:43 in 2014 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • Catching Up to the Cache

    Keith, Andy, Bradley, and Ian are still making good time across the ice. They have had particularly still days for the last few days with very mild temperatures (around-15°C). They can finally see the Thiel Mountains off to the Southwest along with some very large crevasses which were snow covered, but still visible roughly 12 miles away. Keith estimated that these crevasses were big enough to fit an entire city block inside! 

    They are 17.4 miles away from their resupply point where the team plans to take their first rest day after beginning the expedition. Stay tuned!

    Written on Tuesday, 09 December 2014 17:28 in 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition
  • First Miles of The Last Degree

    Our Last Degree Tea, is finally on the ice and on their way! The crew was dropped off at their starting point yesterday afternoon and skied for 2.5 hours before setting up camp. Everyone is drinking a ton of water to help acclimatize to the altitude, and all of them are feeling really good. The weather was beautiful with virtually no wind and a temperature of -22°C. Listen below as Stuart give the audio update.

    Written on Tuesday, 09 December 2014 15:11 in 2014 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition
  • On Ice At Last

    The Last Degree team finally arrived at Union Glacier mid-day yesterday! The weather is beautiful and they are still in short sleeves. After setting up camp, the guys enjoyed a leisurely ski around the basecamp before turning in. The team should have flown out to their starting point via Twin Otter early this morning. We'll keep you posted as we receive updates from the first Last Degree team to take on the South Pole this season!

    Written on Monday, 08 December 2014 15:14 in 2014 South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition

 


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