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South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition

15 days with PolarExplorers   Rating: Budget

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Day 1
Upon arriving at your hotel in Punta Arenas your guide will set up a time to check your gear and answer any questions about the expedition.  
Day 2
More time to review kit, pack sleds and prepare group equipment for the expedition. An evening welcome reception will officially kick off the expedition.  
Day 3
All personal and group kit will be weighed and transferred to the airport for our charter flight. A pre-flight briefing will prepare the team for the flight to Antarctica and  provide  the  latest  weather  reports  and  estimated departure  times.    If  poor  weather  is  forecasted  for  the coming days we may depart for Antarctica today. 
Day 4
Once the flight time is confirmed we will transfer to the Punta Arenas airport, clear security and board the plane for our 4.5 hour charter flight to the Union Glacier basecamp. We may spend a day or two at Union Glacier awaiting an opportunity to fly to 89 degrees.  
Day 5
The flight from Union Glacier to 89 degrees will take us past the Thiel Mountains where we may stop to refuel. The flight takes approximately 3-5 hours depending on aircraft and headwind, plenty of time to watch the vast interior of Antarctica unfold beneath your window. Upon landing near 89 degrees we may ski a short distance or set up camp while weacclimatize to the higher altitude.  
Day 6-12
For  the  next  8  days  we  will  make  our  way across the frozen Antarctic plateau towards our goal - the Geographic South Pole. Skiing 6-9 hours a day you will experience a host of challenges, from thermo-regulation to keeping your goggles from icing up. Everyone is expected to participate in all aspects of camp life including making and breaking camp, collecting snow for making water, and helping with cooking, etc. On a personal level the extreme conditions  of  the  Polar  environment  demand  that  each person  is  well  organized  and  able  to  maintain  both  an appropriate  body  temperature  and  adequate  reserves  of energy. This is where all of your physical training, mental preparation, and time spent acquiring the best clothing and equipment  will  pay  off.  Your  participation  in  our Polar Shakedown Training will help you tremendously as you learn  what  to  expect  and  how  to  deal  with  the  adverse conditions.  It  is  immensely  better  to  learn  important expedition skills prior to the expedition. Once you are on the ice & in the extreme cold everything becomes much more  difficult!  Your  family  and  friends  will  be  able  to follow  your  daily  progress  and  share  messages  via  our Expedition Blog. The  South  Pole:  Upon  reaching  the  South  Pole,  our extended celebration begins. Standing at the bottom of the world,  where  everything  on  Earth  lies  north  of  your location we will celebrate our collective accomplishment. Don’t forget your banners, flags and signs for our photo session. You’ll also have the opportunity to call home to a family member or friend. Time and permissions allowing we may be invited for guided tour of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. We will camp near the South Pole at a basecamp for expedition teams like ours.  
Days 13-14
Weather permitting a pick up flight will take us back to Union Glacier where we will await our return flight  to  Punta  Arenas.  The  Union  Glacier  basecamp  is surrounded by beautiful mountains and the relative warmth of its “northern latitude” will be a welcome change. 
Day 15
Weather  permitting  we  will  return  to  Punta Arenas, usually arriving in the late afternoon. Most people spend at least one night in town prior to their homeward journey. 
All This Included
Join us on an unforgettable adventure steeped in austere and remote beauty as we ski the last degree to the South Pole, our most popular Antarctic expedition. Unlike North Pole expeditions, you will traverse terra firma all the way to the South Pole, so to speak. Roughly two miles of ice separates your skis from firm ground (as opposed to the Arctic Icecap where between 0 and about 5 meters of ice floats atop the Arctic Ocean). Despite the immense ice thickness, the skiing surface is very flat. So the physical challenge is one of endurance rather than technical skiing skill.

Expect driving winds and frigid temperatures. Sled weights range between 30 and 40 kilos, and, as with all PolarExplorers expeditions, you'll be involved with almost every aspect of the journey from pitching camp, to cooking meals and, if you choose, trying your hand at polar navigation. We will work our way to the Pole as a team, and celebrate as a team upon our arrival at 90 degrees south!
  • 1 pair skis and ski poles (supplied by PolarExplorers)
  • 1 pair skins (supplied by PolarExplorers)
  • 1 pair snow pack ski boots
  • Sleeping bag rated to at least -35° Celsius
  • Bivy sack
  • 2 sleeping pads
  • 1 wind anorak with hood (fur ruff recommended)
  • 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
  • 1 overmitt system
  • 2 pair liner or wool 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
  • Luggage locks
Expedition tents
  • The itinerary above is subject to change. When traveling to remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the ice, weather and other factors to determine the itinerary.
  • Vinson is not considered a very technically demanding mountain, but what it lacks in technical difficulty it more than makes up for with extreme conditions and a very remote location. As a team member you should be ready to handle basic mountain / glacial travel, roped team travel, fixed line ascension, self arrest, and crevasse rescue, all while managing your layers and physical needs. You should be able to carry 30 kilo (65 lbs). This expedition will likely encounter extremely cold & windy conditions, and living in such conditions 24 hours a day can be very challenging. This expedition demands that you stay well-fed and hydrated. You need to be proactive about keeping yourself healthy and free of injury. Every ounce of training and preparation will help to make the expedition more enjoyable and safer.
  • Your level of skill and physical conditioning must be high as you may encounter adverse conditions that will test your abilities. You’ll spend both days and nights in some of the most extreme conditions the planet has to offer. You will test all your limits. Trip specific preparation is required, and you must obtain the consent of the trip leader to participate.
  • PolarExplorers strongly encourages all Vinson Massif participants to join them on a ski expedition to the South Pole during the 2 weeks prior to the Vinson expedition. Skiing to the South Pole is an exceptional adventure/achievement, but more importantly it provides the best acclimatization for a Vinson ascent. If you participate in our South Pole Ski Expedition, you will be picked up at the South Pole and flown back to Union Glacier. At Union Glacier we will resupply our fuel and food, pick up some additional equipment and fly to Vinson basecamp.
  • Travel in the Polar regions requires flexibility. Delays are often the rule rather than the exception. PolarExplorers recommends that you get the most flexible air tickets that allow for changes.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For PolarExplorers terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.