Day 1: Meet in Punta Arenas, Chile
Day 2: Weighing and loading of gear. Briefings.
Day 3: Fly to Union Glacier, Antarctica
Day 4: Acclimatisation day
Days: 5-6 Training Days
Day 7: Fly to 89° South
Days: 8-12 Ski to South Pole
Day 13: Arrive at the South Pole
Day 14: Fly South Pole to Union Glacier
Day 15: Return to Punta Arenas, Chile
The group meets up in Punta Arenas, Chile, for briefings and gear checks prior to flying into the interior of Antarctica.
From Punta Arenas, we fly by Ilyushin 76 aircraft to the ALE base at Union Glacier where the aircraft makes a wheeled landing on a blue-ice runway.
The Union Glacier camp, situated at 80 degrees South, is a small collection of tents. The dining and kitchen tent has a wooden floor and is heated with a kerosene stove. We sleep overnight in our own mountain tents but gather for meals in the warmth of the dining tent.
Your guides will hold a briefing on the logistics and safety protocols of the upcoming adventure and cover all aspects of the trip not already addressed in the initial briefing held in Punta Arenas.
We finalise packing of the group supplies and equipment and divide this amongst the team onto sleds. We must then await sufficiently fine weather to start the long flight to the beginning of the trek. Once the weather forecasters give us the green light we load into ski-equipped Twin Otter aircraft for the six hour flight south into the heart of Antarctica.
As we will be arriving high onto the polar plateau we will encounter effects of altitude. Everyone will be towing a sled loaded with their personal and expedition equipment and we will have a short day to stretch our legs then establish our first camp. We will begin slowly on the expedition to bring everyone up to an optimum pace for remainder of the journey.
Each day we will wake up around 7.30am for breakfast and hydration before we begin to break camp and pack our belongings. We travel for around 8 hours every day with a break every hour for food and drink. The objective is to maintain an optimum body temperature; too cold and we burn too much energy - whilst too hot will cause sweating that promotes hypothermia when you stop, in addition to dehydration issues. At the day’s end you will have travelled 10-15km (6-10miles).
On arrival at a camp site the group will set up tents and build protective snow walls and contribute to snow melting and meal preparations. Everyone is involved and working to get the camp ready for habitation.
We follow this routine for seven days as we journey towards the Pole. Finally, the South Pole station will come into view from about 24km (15 miles) out.