North Pole Expedition, Ski the Last Degree, 19 Days, Polar Expedition
Join our North Pole Ski Expedition, learn polar adventure Travel skills & travel over the sea ice to the top of the world. Immerse yourself in extreme wilderness.
* We offer both Supported and Highly Supported Expeditions.
North Pole Ski Expedition
Whilst most of us do not have the time to complete the entire North Pole adventure, we can still participate in a high intensity but relatively short duration North Pole Ski Expedition by skiing the Last Degree to the North Pole. We offer a standard North Pole Ski expedition as well as a highly supported option.
The challenge of the journey comes from the ever-changing sea ice that moves constantly, making for interesting navigation and physical travel days.
We celebrate appropriately on reaching the North Pole and the very top of our precious world.
Challenges aside, an expedition to the top of the world is an amazing experience. It is difficult to describe the visual richness of the soft arctic light, the variety and detail in snow crystals and the ever-changing colours of the ice that are features of polar travel. It really has to be experienced first-hand to be believed.
- Flights to and from Barneo camp in the Arctic
- Flights from the North Pole back to Barneo
- All group equipment including sleds, cooking gear etc
- Tents and food while in the Arctic
- Access to our satellite telephone for outgoing calls
- Dispatch webpage updated throughout the trip for friends & family to follow
- Transport of 23kg/51lbs of personal equipment
- Air travel to and from Longyearbyen, Norway
- Hotel accommodation and meals in Longyearbyen
- Norwegian visa and airport fees
- Personal insurance – full travel, medical and rescue insurance is required as well as personal trip cancellation insurance. Medical evacuation insurance cover of US$300,000 is required.
- Personal clothing and equipment (a full equipment list is provided on booking)
- Excess baggage transportation charges exceeding the personal equipment weight limit.
- Cost of satellite telephone calls whilst on expedition
- Personal expenses incurred on the expedition
- Getting Started Getting Started
We meet in the town of Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen in the far north of Norway. After introductions, we prepare for the journey by running a 5 day polar training program to get the group skilled in all the techniques you will use on the expedition. On completion of this phase the group is well equipped to take on the challenge. We finalise packing and fly by fixed-wing aircraft towards the North Pole.
The flight takes us to `Barneo’ camp, a major tent camp that is established each season on the ice to support the aircraft activities. This becomes our staging point for the expedition from where we depart as weather and logistics allow.
- Daily Routine on Expedition Daily Routine on Expedition
Each team member will be towing a sled loaded with their personal gear and a share of the expedition equipment. We will begin slowly on the expedition to bring everyone up to an optimum pace for remainder of the journey. There will be no rushing as it is vital that we avoid injury and burnout and that we have the stamina to finish the expedition. Each day we will awake around 7.30am for breakfast and hydration before we begin to break camp and pack our belongings. We travel for around 8-10 hours with a break every hour for food and drink. Everybody travels together and the pace will be slow and steady and not hurried. 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. 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 it is important to manage your body temperature well, especially hands, as you have stopped pulling the sleds and will cool down quickly. Everyone is involved and must contribute to snow melting and meal preparations. Once inside your tent you will be sheltered from the wind..
Team members will share tents in either 2 or 3 person tents and each tent ‘team’ will have their own stove for cooking and snow melting.
- Day by Day Day by Day
Arrive in Ely or Longyearbyen, shuttle to the lodge. You’ll have time to unpack and relax before our official welcome reception and dinner. Over dinner you’ll have an opportunity to meet the other members and discuss the program with your guide the upcoming days. After dinner your guide will perform an in depth review of Polar equipment and closely review each participants clothing and equipment.
Days 2 to 4:
After breakfast your guide will conduct classes in how to operate safely in the polar environment and then it’s time to hit the trail! For two days & nights you’ll experience what it’s like to survive (and thrive!) in extremely cold temperatures. We’ll cover all sorts of important information that is designed to keep you self-sufficient and safe in this environment and enable you to gain invaluable experience prior to your expedition. On our final night we’ll make our way back to our lodge for hot showers.
Each person will have an individual review with their guide with feedback on what areas to focus on for the upcoming journey to the North Pole. This review is designed to help you focus on certain aspects of personal preparations.
This is also the first day of the expedition for polar experienced members or those who have completed the training previously and you will all congregate at a welcome reception and dinner.
Final equipment review, warm-up ski in Spitsbergen. A busy day as we ready our kits, review expedition expectations & procedures. This is the last chance to work out any kinks before we take to the ice! We’ll review your personal kits and ready all our equipment for the flight. The late afternoon and evening are your final opportunity to grab last-minute necessities in town.
From Longyearbyen we will travel by charter aircraft to the eclectic Russian research camp “Barneo” located at approximately 89 degrees North latitude. This flight takes approximately 2 ½ hours. Upon arriving at Barneo we will either strap on our skis and depart immediately for the North Pole or set up our tents and depart the following morning. Barneo is located on the floating pack ice and its precise location varies. Depending on the location we will either depart directly from Barneo or we may opt to get flown to our departure point. Our guides will review ice conditions and recent drift to determine the best departure point.
Days 8 to 16:
Ski North towards the North Pole! Days are spent skiing and taking relatively short breaks, evenings are spent setting up camp, preparing meals and relaxing with fellow expedition team members.
For the next seven to nine days we’ll travel by ski and sled, manoeuvring our way around open water leads and over pressure ridges. We’ll ski between six and ten hours every day (actual length depends on weather and ice conditions). At night we’ll camp on solid ‘old’ ice and cook meals in our tents. Your family and friends will be able to follow your daily progress, as well as share messages with the team using our online Expedition Tracker. All team members will be required to participate in all aspects of the expedition, including setting up camp, cooking and using the stoves to melt water, etc. (we will help you learn these skills). 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.
Arrive at the geographic North Pole! Enjoy a Polar celebration with champagne and plenty of photos. Call home and share the moment with friends or family!
Standing at the top of the world, where everything on Earth lies south of your location, we’ll make toasts to celebrate our accomplishment. Many people bring flags, banners, or signs to plant at the top of the world and photograph. Camp in the vicinity of the North Pole.
Weather depending, we’ll get picked up by helicopter that same day and head back to Barneo, then on to Longyearbyen. (We may end up spending the night at Barneo depending on timing and conditions.) Back in Longyearbyen you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy hot showers, fine cuisine, access to phones and internet, and time to meander through town. A farewell dinner and a comfortable night at the lodge will be a memorable occasion!
Breakfast at Longyearbyen lodge. Transport to airport. Flights home.
Activity Level: Challenging
You will need to extremely fit and should prepare in advance with fitness training. We will be happy to help with advice on this.