Fly to the South Pole
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South Pole Flights 2017

Fly to the South Pole, where all 360 lines of longitude meet and in a few steps you can walk around the world. History comes alive as you stand at 90° South, the ultimate goal of polar explorers Amundsen and Scott. Imagine how it felt to head out across the frozen continent and into the unknown over 100 years ago. Feel the spirit of determination and discovery that has inspired a century of Antarctic exploration and scientific research. Now can you, together with PolarQuest and Antartctic Logistics & Expeditions (ALE), be one of the selected few that have set foot on the Geographic South Pole. 

Accommodation: Comfortable expedition tent at Union Glacier Camp. Transport: Airplane. Participants: 5 - 20 participants. Languages: English. Length: 6 or 7 days. Price: USD 49 750.

Itinerary

Day 1: Fly to Antarctica*

We will call you at your hotel in the morning to advise you of current conditions in Antarctica. If the weather is suitable for our flight, we will pick you up at your hotel within the hour. 

At the Punta Arenas airport, we board our chartered jet for the 4¼ hour flight to Antarctica. Our routecrosses the Drake Passage, then follows the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the spine of theEllsworth Mountains. We land on a naturally occurringblue-ice runway on Union Glacier where you will take your first steps on Antarctica. Climb aboard one of our specially-adapted vans for the 5 mi (8 km) shuttle to the camp. The staff will provide a welcome tour of camp and show you to your tent.

*Every effort will be made to keep to the scheduled flight date and we will depart as soon as weather and runway conditions permit. Please understand that delays are common in Antarctic travel. All flights are dependent on weather, aircraft serviceability, and local conditions. The staff will stay in close contact with you and will provide you with regular flight updates.

Day 2-5: Explore Union Glacier

During your week stay in Antarctica, you’ll have multiple days to explore Union Glacier. The meteorologists will carefully monitor the weather conditions and find the best day for your South Pole Flight. A typical day at Union Glacier starts with a briefing after breakfast where you’ll meet with your guide to discuss the day’s options and choose an activity tailored to the weather and the group’s interest. Union Glacier excursions can include any of the following destinations:

Elephant’s Head
Ride in one of our vehicles to this dramatic marble buttress overlooking the blue-ice runway. Beautiful ice pools and moraines offer endless opportunities for photography. If you’re looking for something more active, you’ll have the opportunity to hike up to the base of Elephant’s Head or all the way to the top of Rhodes Bluff for panoramic views of Union Glacier and the Heritage Range.

Drake Icefall
Named in the 1960s after geologist Benjamin Drake IV, this impressive icefall tumbles off the polar plateau into Union Glacier. Winds from the South Pole carve huge waves into the blue-ice and polish the surface into a high shine.

Charles Peak Windscoop
Discover the power of wind on ice as you wander through a sparkling turquoise corridor. If you’re truly adventurous, this is a prime place to try ice climbing with one of our experienced guides. For the less vertically inclined, you can rock hunt to your heart’s content. Just remember to leave them in place, as nothing may be removed from Antarctica.

The Beach at Rossman Cove
Another spectacular setting for blue-ice photography and panoramic views! Take cross-country skis with you or a picnic lunch and enjoy Antarctica’s version of a glacial beach getaway.

Hidden Valley
Our staff’s favorite getaway—this secret canyon opens up to a beautiful valley prime for hiking, climbing, and backcountry skiing.

If you’d prefer to stay closer to camp, we have a variety of activities for all abilities. You can check out a pair of cross-country skis or a fat-tire bike and take a spin around our groomed 10k loop or you can enjoy a cup of tea, an Antarctic book, or fun game in our camp library. In the evenings, we regularly offer lectures and films tailored to your experience.

 

Flexible Flight Day  - Fly to the South Pole

Once weather conditions permit, you will board our ski aircraft and head for the southernmost point on Earth! Your flight is planned to return the same day but we will bring food and camping equipment in the event weather conditions change and an overnight stay is necessary. The services team will assist you in packing your sleeping bag.

The flight to the Pole will take between 4-6 hours depending on the aircraft. You’ll fly over the high, polar plateau, viewing wind affected snow called sastrugi, crevasse fields, and an endless expanse of white. You’ll pass the Thiel Mountains approximately halfway to the Pole and continue to fly over the plateau. As you near 90° South, you will catch sight of the South Pole station, a cluster of buildings surrounded by snow and sky. The aircraft lands on a groomed ski-way and you’ll deplane near the South Pole marker. Here all 360 lines of longitude meet and beneath your feet the ice is almost 10,000 ft (3000 m) thick!

The United States of America maintains a research station at the South Pole, named Amundsen-Scott Station in memory of those intrepid explorers. If United States Antarctic Program (USAP) staff are available, you will be escorted inside the research station for a guided visit.

Outside the station, you will have plenty of time to take photos at both the Geographic and Ceremonial Poles. Enjoy this special place and imagine how it must have felt to stand here a century ago with only the sound of the wind and an endless expanse of white stretching northward in all directions.

Your visit to the Pole will last approximately 3-4 hours. Given the cold conditions and altitude, we’ve found this to be the perfect amount of time for guests to accomplish their objectives and enjoy the experience.

*Day 6 or 7: Return to Punta Arenas, Chile

When weather and runway conditions permit, ourintercontinental aircraft will arrive at Union Glacier to transport you back to Chile. Our staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you back to your hotel.

*Please notice: No two Antarctic experiences are the same. This is part of the excitement and adventure of Antarctic travel. The itinerary above highlights typical activities and experiences. Exact timeline and details will vary from trip to trip. Trip length may vary by departure. Please anticipate delays and do not plan anything important after the trip and make sure you have a changable airline ticket. Allow yourself to enjoy this unique experience without the stress of pending commitments.

Accommodation

  • Union Glacier Camp
    ANI
  • Union Glacier Camp
    Russ Hepburn
  • ANI
  • ANI
  • ANI

Union Glacier Camp

Our main Antarctic base camp lies on the broad expanse of the Union Glacier, in the southern Ellsworth Mountains. We are a short flight from Mt Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica, and just over 600 miles (1000 km) from our nearest neighbors, the South Pole. Majestic peaks rise in all directions, offering scenic excursions, technical climbs and ski tours. At camp there is little wind, providing a comfortable environment to relax and take it all in.

Our double-walled sleeping tents are roomy, comfortable and well suited to Antarctic conditions. Each tent houses two guests who sleep in sleeping bags with mattresses, pillow and linen provided by ANI. The tents are naturally heated by the 24 hour sunlight up to 60°F (15°C). The Dining Tent is the heart of our camp. It has a complete kitchen and dining area and serves as a gathering place to enjoy tea and coffee while discussing the day’s adventures. Our chefs prepare hearty, fresh-cooked meals, baked goods, and tantalizing desserts. Self-serve snacks and beverages are available anytime. We regularly fly in fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, meats, and a variety of beers and Chilean wines from Punta Arenas, Chile.

You’ll be surprised how comfortable Antarctica can be!

 

Prices

Room category Price per person
Shared facilities USD 49 750

Price includes: Airport transfers in Punta Arenas, round trip flight to Antarctica from Punta Arenas, round trip flight to South Pole from Union Glacier, meals and tented accommodation in Antarctica, South Pole Expedition celebration dinner in Antarctica, official personalised ANI Certificate of Achievement, checked luggage up to 55 lb (25 kg).

Not included: Commercial flights to and from Punta Arenas, airport transfers outside of Punta Arenas, meals and accommodation in Punta Arenas, additional flights within Antarctica, personal equipment and clothing, expenses incurred due to delays, Satellite phone charges, insurance coverage – personal, medical, evacuation or otherwise.

Departures & booking

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or wish to make a reservation.

Booking request
We are glad that you are interested in travelling with PolarQuest! Please enter your details below, and let us know if you have any specific preferences such as cabin category. Your request is non-binding.

Departure Return
7 December 2017 12 December 2017
12 December 2017 18 December 2017