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Skiers make their way to the South Pole pulling their sleds. Courtesy John Beatty, Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions

Ski the Last Degree

Example 12 Day Tour
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Ski the last 60 nautical miles (69 mi/111 km) to reach the most southerly point on Earth and experience firsthand the challenges faced by early explorers. Ski Last Degree captures the essence of polar exploration in an incredible expedition. You’ll witness the stark beauty and silence of the high polar plateau, feel the physical demands of sled hauling, enjoy the bonds of friendship built through the shared challenge, and know that you have arrived at the ultimate destination – the South Pole – through your own effort and determination.
Skier pulling their sled across the polar plateau. Courtesy John Beatty, Antarctic Logistics & ExpeditionsSkiers celebrate reaching the Ceremonial South Pole. Courtesy Eric Larsen, Antarctic Logistics & ExpeditionsSkiers setting up camp on a sunny day. Courtesy Rob Smith, Antarctic Logistics & ExpeditionsSki rack outside camp. Courtesy Nick Lewis, Antarctic Logistics & ExpeditionsSkiers approaching the Ceremonial South Pole. Courtesy David Rootes, Antarctic Logistics & ExpeditionsSkiers make their way to the South Pole pulling their sleds. Courtesy John Beatty, Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions
Highlights
  • Ski the final 60 nautical miles to reach the South Pole
  • Experience the continent of Antarctica in the footsteps of polar explorers
  • Be one of the few humans to visit the most the most southerly point on Earth
  • Enjoy activities of your choice, such as skiing, trekking, or snowmobiling
Activity Level: Ultimate
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Fly to Antarctica

This morning, you will be called to your hotel and advised of the current conditions in Antarctica. If the weather is suitable for the flight, you are picked up at your hotel by bus within the hour. At the Punta Arenas airport, board a chartered jet for the 4¼ hour flight to Antarctica. The route crosses the Drake Passage, then follows the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the spine of the Ellsworth Mountains. Land on a naturally occurring blue-ice runway on Union Glacier where you will take your first steps in Antarctica. Climb aboard a specially-adapted van for the 5 mi (8 km) shuttle to the main camp. The friendly staff will provide a welcome tour of camp and show you to your tent. 

* Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile at least two full days prior to your schedule for briefings/orientation in order to fully prepare you for your upcoming experience.
 

Day 2-3: Expedition Preparations

  • Campsite
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
You will spend a couple of days at Union Glacier to test your clothing and equipment and practice sled hauling on a mini-expedition outside of camp with your team. Then you’ll pack your sleds and prepare for departure.

Day 4: Fly to 89° South

Fly by ski aircraft to 89° South, 60 nautical miles (69 mi/111 km) from the South Pole. As the aircraft disappears from view, you’ll be struck by the stark beauty and emptiness surrounding you. There is nothing but snow and wide horizons in all directions. Your team will pack sleds and ski a short distance before setting up camp for your first night on the expedition. You have just arrived at altitude and it is important that your pace is slow during this initial ski.

Day 5-9: Ski to the Pole

  • Campsite
  • 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners
Continuing your trek south, you’ll ski longer periods each day to begin acclimatizing to the cold and altitude. The elevation here is 9,300 ft (2835 m) but to your body, it will feel more like 10,500 ft (3200 m) due to the lower atmospheric pressure at the poles. Throughout the expedition, you’ll notice the altitude’s impact on your breathing and your stamina. This journey is physically demanding. Your sled will weigh approximately 66 lb (30 kg) and the snow may be sculpted by the wind into steep ridges called sastrugi, adding to the challenge. Acclimatizing slowly gives your team its best chance for success.

A ‘typical’ day starts with breakfast at 8 am and the team packed up and skiing by 10 am. You’ll make a series of 1-hour marches, stopping for 5-10 minutes each hour for a brief rest and snack break. You’ll travel until about 7 pm and then stop to set up camp and enjoy dinner together. As on all expeditions, success is a team effort, with everyone helping to pitch tents and prepare meals. 

The Amundsen-Scott Station may be visible from around 15 mi (24 km) away but those last miles can seem the longest and may take another 1-2 days of travel.

Day 10: Arrive at the South Pole

Finally, you’ll take the last steps to your goal and reach the most southerly point on Earth – the Geographic South Pole! Here, beneath your feet, all 360 lines of longitude meet and the ice is almost 10,000 ft (3000 m) thick. Feel the satisfaction of having arrived here under your own power and reflect on how it must have felt to stand in this place over one hundred years ago, with only the sound of the wind and an endless expanse of white stretching northward in all directions.

You may camp overnight at the South Pole until your pick-up by ski aircraft. The South Pole is an Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA #5). Please respect established protocols while at the South Pole.

Day 11: Return to Union Glacier

The field staff will stay in close contact with Union Glacier Camp to identify the best ‘weather window’ for your return flight. Depending on flights, your team’s celebration dinner may take place at our South Pole camp or upon your return to Union Glacier. You’ll receive a certificate to commemorate your Ski Last Degree Expedition and may have at least one day to explore more of Union Glacier before departing Antarctica.

Day 12: Return to Chile

  • 1 Breakfast
When weather and runway conditions permit, the intercontinental aircraft will arrive at Union Glacier to transport you back to Chile. Staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you back to your hotel.

Due to the potential for weather delays, it is strongly suggested to book your flight home one week after your planned return from Antarctica. If you purchase a full-fare ticket, most airlines will allow you to move your departure date. When it is time for your flight home, you will be provided transportation from your hotel to the Punta Arenas airport.

Accommodations

Union Glacier Camp

Union Glacier Camp. Courtesy Christian Iverson Styve, Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions
Union Glacier Camp. Courtesy Christopher Michel, Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions
Union Glacier Camp. Courtesy Leslie Wicks, Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions

Field Camp

Expedition field camp. Courtesy Rob Smith, Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions
View from a field camp tent. Courtesy Carl Alvey, Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions
Gould Bay Camp. Courtesy Russ Hepburn, Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$68,995

Notes

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Included
  • 11 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 11 Dinners
  • 4 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Airport transfers in Punta Arenas, Chile
  • Gear Rental: Camping & Skiing Gear
  • Internal Flights - Round trip flight to Antarctica from Punta Arenas Flight to 89°S from Union Glacier Flight to Union Glacier from South Pole
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • International Flights
  • Insurance coverage - personal, medical, evacuation, or otherwise
  • Meals and accommodation in Punta Arenas
  • Satellite phone charges

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
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May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.

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