South Pole and Back - Ski and Kite

Unsupported trek to the South Pole from Messner Start (Filchner Ice Shelf) (900 km) with the return by kite-skiing. An incredible opportunity with an incredible team!

Approximate Dates: November 13, 2011, to January 15, 2012

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Meet in Punta Arenas two days before departure to Antarctic.

Day 2: Day before departure we have an information briefing with ALE.

Day 3: Weather permitting, we fly to Union Glacier in Antarctica.

Day 4-7: Training in and around Union Glacier.

Day 8: Weather permitting, we fly to the Messner Start on the Filchner Ice Shelf.

Day 9-43: Ski to South Pole. We plan to ski eight and a half to nine hours per day.

Day 44: Rest at South Pole.

Day 45-59: Kite-ski from South Pole to back to the edge of the continent at the Messner Start.

Day 60: Flight with ALE Alyshin jet to Punta Arenas on next available flight.

The Team

Richard Weber holds the speed record from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole (Jan. 2009). He has also completed six expeditions from land to the North Pole, including the only unsupported journey to the North Pole and back to land. Josée Auclair has skied to both the North and South Poles, and operates the most northern fly-in ecolodge in the world.

Qualifications

You need to be a reasonable skier. You’ll be required to walk eight to ten hours per day pulling a sled.

For the kite-skiing, you need to be comfortable with your kite and skis, but certainly not an expert. A separate training camps will be held in Finse Norway and Yellowknife Canada in February and March 2011

What’s Included

  • Weber Arctic expertise in planning and preparation, (Call us anytime!)
  • All return charter air transportation from Punta Arenas
  • Accommodation and meals in Antarctica for duration of itinerary (You sleep in a tent in a warm sleeping bag.)
  • Camping gear (tent, kitchen)
  • Sleds
  • Communication and safety gear
  • Baggage allowance up to 55 lbs (25 kg)
  • Resupply materials up to 10 kg (excess is $100/kg)

What’s Not Included

  • Round-trip transportation to Punta Arenas, Chile
  • Meals and accommodations in Punta Arenas
  • Personal clothing and accessories
  • Skis and kites
  • Trip cancellation and baggage insurance (mandatory)
  • Medical/evacuation insurance (mandatory)
  • Excess baggage costs
  • Phone calls from Antarctica

Expedition Description

This adventure starts in Punta Arenas, Chile. We spend two days in “Punta.” There is a pre-flight briefing and luggage weigh-in. Punta Arenas is very close to some great penguin rookeries and well worth exploring. From Punta Arenas, we’ll board a chartered Alyushin jet to fly across the Drake Passage and over the mainland of Antarctica. After a four and a half hour flight, we’ll land at the Patriot Hills base camp and spend a few days at Patriot Hills acclimatizing and training.

A short flight takes us to the Messner Start on the Filchner Ice Shelf. We will start with a couple of shorter stays, but quickly ramp up to a work day of 8-9 hours of walking and skiing. Sleds will weigh about 70 kg at the start. The goal is to make the journey in 35 days – plus or minus two days. This is an average day of about 15 nautical miles. The conditions are hard and icy at the start. Sasstrugi, sharp irregular grooves in the snow, are hit or miss for most of the trek but disappears in the last stretch of the trip. We start at sea level and climb to almost 10,000 feet at the South Pole. The low pressure in the South Pole can make the altitude feel more like 12,000 or 13,000 feet.

It will be summer, so the sun is strong and temperatures of -10C to -35C can be expected.

At the Pole, we will have a chance to visit the American base. An aircraft will arrive from Patriot Hills to resupply the team, and bring them their kiting gear.

Kite-skiing is unpredictable. The trip could take anywhere from 10 to 20 days, but 14 days is a good estimate, depending on the winds. This is a chance to experience and enjoy the vast surroundings and the complete silence that is Antarctica. The journey will finish back at the Messner Start..

Several days are built into the itinerary to accommodate for weather delays, which are normal in Antarctica.

Ski to the bottom of the world, the Geographic South Pole. An incredible opportunity with an incredible team!

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