This is a unique expedition never before completed in this configuration. Sure, people have skied the last degree to the South Pole, and from South Pole to Hercules Inlet, but never combined the two. The benefits of this trip are many - you ski to the South Pole, experience the wild Antarctic plateau, complete a long expedition without resupply and you return downhill with the wind in your back. Depending on the capabilities of the team, we may consider using Parawing kites for some of the return sector. We will train you in the use of these basic kites. Places are limited to 5 so be quick to join this Antarctic first.
Arrive Punta Arenas. Check-in to hotel
Meet with Icetrek guide. Review itinerary, equipment and food. Preparations for departure to Antarctica.
Briefing with ALE
Fly to Union Glacier Camp in Antarctica (weather dependent). Stay at Union Glacier and finalise preparations, including sled packing and pulling, skiing, camp procedures, equipment tweaks.
Flight to 89 south, camp
Acclimatise, prepare cache
Arrive South Pole, camp one night
Ski to South Pole and back to 89
Ski to coast or Union Glacier Camp
Flight to Punta Arenas
After final preparations at Union Glacier Camp in Antarctica we fly by dedicated Twin Otter aircraft to 89 degrees south, high up on the Antarctic Plateau.
Our start is well away from the standard trail used by South Pole expeditioners skiing the common route from Hercules Inlet to the pole. And we begin our trip well before the Last Degree season commences so we will have the plateau, and the route, much to ourselves.
Despite landing at around 2700m, flying onto the Antarctic Plateau is not to be underestimated so we spend 2 nights here acclimatising to the cold and elevation. We'll leave a large cache of food and some gear here which we collect on the way back from the pole.
With relatively light sleds we head south across the colossal ice sheet with nothing and no-one in sight. At 89.40 we leave a small cache of food to collect on the return then continue to the South Pole, the point at which all lines of longitude converge, the end of the Earth's axis, one of the coldest places on the planet. There's time to soak in the awesomeness of where we are and, with the American Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station located right there, there's no mistaking our location.
We return along the same route, collect our small cache and return to 89. With around 12 days and 224km already behind us we are ready for the heavier sleds that we'll haul without resupply for the next 1100km.
With our route slowly descending and the wind mostly in our backs we will quickly feel the benefits. On this leg we begin to reach and exceed our daily average of 25km, making our way slowly but surely towards the distant Thiel Mountains and onward towards the ice shelf coastline.
We can now begin to contemplate two options - a finish on the geographical coastline at Hercules Inlet followed by a short flight back to Union Glacier Camp, or to continue the final and rarely covered 100km to the camp. This concluding section, skiing up Union Glacier, bound by the stunning peaks of the Ellsworth Mountains, provides a finish like no other.
This 1300km expedition should only be considered by the most committed adventurers, willing to undertake a rigorous daily training schedule for several months prior to their trip. If adventure, challenge, teamwork and perseverance bring you great satisfaction and you want to experience unique Antarctic adventuring, this trip is definitely for you.
Latam Airlines fly daily to Punta Arenas, Chile.