North Pole - Ski Last Degree

The following is to serve as a helpful guideline on our North Pole Ski the Last Degree Expedition. Please feel free to call or e-mail if you have any further questions. Our team is here to help!

CHOOSING A PROVIDER

How long has Adventure Consultants been in operation?
Adventure Consultants started in 1990 and we have been guiding internationally ever since.

A few outfitters ‘claim’ to have the same level of experience and prestige with that of Adventure Consultants. In this league, what makes you a first choice for your expeditioners travelling to the North Pole? 
Adventure Consultants have been expeditioning in the polar regions for over two decades.  We employ experienced and professional guides, use the latest in communications and weather forecasting technology and nutritious and tasty food to ensure you have the best experience on our trips.

FOOD, ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES

What showers and washing (clothes) will be available on the expedition?
Showers are available at the Longyearbyen hotel prior to and after the expedition, however, there are no showers or laundry facilities available during the crossing. We advise people to bring wet-wipes for the impromptu wash in between available showers.

Would you let us know what food will be available?
Food is one of the most crucial factors for a successful polar expedition.  We serve nutritious and filling food that will sustain you well for the crossing.

What is the food like?
Typical meals include warm muesli for breakfast, crackers with cheese, salami or dried fish for lunch and freeze-dried meals for dinner.  These meals are supplemented with plenty of snacks including chocolate, cookies and dried fruit and nuts.

What are the hotels like? 
Through our local agents, we book centrally located comfortable mid-range hotels. Once on your expedition program, you will be staying in tents and sharing with one other. Our standard trips are based on shared rooms, usually twin share.

Will I be sharing a tent or room with other expeditioners? Is a single supplement available?
Hotel rooms are based on a twin-share basis, but if you would like your own room, please do enquire with our office for pricing.  Single tents are not generally available during the expedition due to the heavy load carrying requirements.

TRAVEL

Do I need to arrive the day before the trip starts?
Please arrange to arrive on Day 1 of the itinerary to allow sufficient time for your equipment check and briefing prior to the flight to the icecap. 

When should I book my ticket?
For the majority of our expeditions, we generally ask you to wait until 90 days prior to your trip start date to ensure your trip has met the minimum numbers and will operate. If you see a good deal and want to book your flights then ensure you can make changes to your tickets and it is a good idea to purchase trip cancellation insurance, in the event that you need to cancel.

Can I get a cheap ticket online?
We highly recommend purchasing an open, fully changeable air ticket, as trips can be extended by a week or more. Given the remote nature of where we are, the weather must fall within certain parameters to be able to fly and you can be assured the reasons for flight delays are for safety. In today’s world there are few places where the environment still affects our plans and the Arctic is one of them!

Where do we meet? Will I be picked up?
We fly into Svalbard Airport (LYR) in Norway and, where possible, there will be an Adventure Consultants representative waiting to meet you and transer from the airport to the hotel.

What if I am arriving early or departing late?
We can assist you with booking extra hotel room nights if you arrive early. However, on this trip YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO ARRIVE LATE - if you are delayed or your bags get lost, you will not be able to come on the expedition!

CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT

Do you have a recommended list of clothing we should bring?
Yes, you will be sent a personal clothing and equipment list once our office has received your trip registration form and deposit. We do also have a dedicated equipment coordinator that is happy to provide advice and answers to any questions you may have.

Do I really need all the equipment on the equipment list?
Yes, these lists have been carefully prepared and you must bring everything on the list, as there are very limited options if additional equipment needs to be purchased in Longyearbyen.

How warm do we need our sleeping bags to be?
This will be clearly stated in your recommended gear list. In particular for camping on the ice, you will need a sleeping bag warm enough for you in conditions that can be as cold as -35oC (-31oF)  We highly recommend buying a sleeping bag big enough to allow you to wear some clothes in if it is especially cold.

GUIDES & EXPEDITION TEAM MEMBERS

How many guides will be assigned to our group?
The Standard Expedition usually has four members and one guide.  The Highly Supported Expedition has one guide to two members.

Can I contact other expeditioners or guides on this expedition?
Sure! Before the expedition, contact our office and we can pass on your details to the other expeditioners. Due to our privacy policy, we leave it up to individual team members as to whether they want to get in touch.

Who goes on your trips?
Our expeditioners come from a wide variety of backgrounds, interests, countries and skill levels ranging from those seeking skill development to those seeking assistance with the world's most remote regions, or purely adventure.

I would like to arrange a private trip, is this possible?
We are happy to arrange a private group trip to the destination of your choice, and even to remote destinations such as the North Pole. There is no specific group size, but obviously larger groups are more cost effective.

HEALTH & FITNESS

What are the skills/prior experience required for this expedition?
Prior experience in winter travel, glacier crossings and cross-country skiing is important for a successful crossing as well as the ability to work well within a team environment. The nature of this expedition demands strong team cohesion and commitment. An essential ingredient for participants is physical fortitude for working hard in a cold weather environment hence each member must be strong and healthy. Contact us regarding recommended training programmes for this expedition including our Polar Training Course.  

What kind of physical condition should I be in for the expedition?
You should train on a regular basis for at least 3 months prior to the expedition start. It is recommended that you focus on cardiovascular training as the cardiovascular system is constantly stressed whilst on the move. Running, and hiking  combined with strength, core stability and flexibility training are the best types of exercise to incorporate into your programme. It is important to ensure long duration aerobic exercise, gradually increasing your endurance to maintain 8 hours of vigorous activity a day for up to 8 days in a row. Core strength is important to make sled hauling easier, as well as shoveling snow when the necessity for building protective walls for the tents arises. 

How much weight do we carry on the expedition? 
All baggage is transported in sleds made of plastic. At the beginning of the expedition each member should expect to be hauling approximately 45kg (100lbs). This is the total weight of both the personal and the communal gear (i.e. clothes, sleeping bag, food, fuel, stoves, tents etc.). Towards the end of the expedition the weight will reduce to approximately 30kg (66lbs) as food is eaten and fuel burnt.

What type of communication is available on the expedition?
Your expedition guide will have an Iridium satellite phone and you are welcome to use this at US$4 per minute. As we rely on solar power and cannot guarantee that the phone will be available 24hrs a day. Cold severely affects the system and delays can occur for re-warming. If you anticipate that you may need to make frequent or long calls then please make arrangements before the expedition through our office.

I want to contact my friend or relative, who is on one of your trips, how can I reach them?
Your guide will send daily internet dispatches, and the Adventure Consultants NZ office receives updates from our guides while they are in the field. The best place to reach a loved one is through our office.

Will there be any power source for charging batteries, etc. available throughout the trek? What voltage requirements?
We take a small solar charging system on the expedition.  This is used to charge the satellite phone as a priority, but may be used for other gadgets if sufficient power is available.  Ensure your gadgets are able to be charged by USB or 12V car charger.  We do NOT recommend bringing rechargeable digital cameras; they tend to run out when power is not available. Use cameras with replaceable batteries and we recommend lithium batteries. We can cater for special power requirements at an extra cost - please enquire with our office.

WEATHER FORECASTS

What weather report service do you use and how often do you receive a weather reports?
During the expedition, your guide will receive weather updates from our local team in Longyearbyen as well as updates from the Adventure Consultants office.  

INSURANCE

What insurance do we need to get?
In addition to evacuation & medical insurance we recommend to all our expedition members to buy trip cancellation insurance on sign up for your expedition.  It is also highly recommend purchasing a Comprehensive Travel Insurance policy to provide cover for trip interruption, baggage loss, damage or theft, delayed flights or other such incidents that may occur during your trip. Contact us for expedition insurance advice.

Do I need evacuation insurance?
Absolutely!  Evacuation from the North Pole can cost up to $300,000 and you need to be insured accordingly, as well as having coverage for repatriation and travel medical expenses.

Who do you recommend for insurance?
You will  be sent information specific to your expedition as part of your welcome package and requirements differ depending on where you are travelling and your home location, so be sure to discuss cover with your Client Liaison before purchasing a policy.  

What is Trip Cancellation Insurance?
Trip cancellation insurance is an option that may allow you to cancel your trip without losing the total cost of the trip. Adventure Consultants highly recommends cancellation insurance for all expeditions. If circumstances cause us to cancel a trip (e.g. minimum numbers are not reached) then we refund your fees paid but trip cancellation insurance covers your airfare and any other costs you may have incurred.

FEES & PAYMENTS

Can I pay by credit card?
We can accept the trip deposit payment on credit card, and we add a 3% fee to accept the balance payment by credit card for your expedition. Please contact our office or visit our secure credit card page to send us your credit card details - your card is not charged at the time as we process this here in our office and not via an online payment system.

What is included in the cost of my trip? Does it include airfare?
Each specific trip page on the website has a section as well as a downloadable pdf document with exactly what is and what is not included on the trip. International airfares are not included in the trip price. We can however recommend excellent travel agents whom we have worked with in your country, should you require help with arranging your international airfare.

Why are you sometimes more expensive than other operators?
Many of our trips are very similar in price to our competitors. Some companies even wait for us to set our prices and use ours as a guideline!! Some of our main selling points, which sometimes do cost more, are; internationally qualified western guides, proven dependable local operators, small group sizes and safe client:guide ratios, quality equipment and high summit success rates, among other things. You do get what you pay for which is why we stand out from the rest. Many clients come to us after failing on one of our competitors ‘cheaper’ trips.

How do I sign up for a trip?
The best way to reserve your space on a trip is to call our office or complete our online booking form. Return this with the trip deposit either through a telegraphic transfer (information is on our trip notes downloaded from the specific trip page) or by using our secure credit card page. Phone our New Zealand head office on +64 3 443 8711 (Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 5:30pm PST + 19 hours) or Freephone 1-866-757-8722 from North America.

 

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