Climb Antarctica FAQs
The following is to serve as a helpful guideline on our Climb Antarctica 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 climbers travelling to Antarctica?
In December of 1992, Adventure Consultants founders Rob Hall and Gary Ball ran their first commercial expedition to Antarctica in conjunction with ANI. Previous to this, Rob and Gary climbed Vinson Massif in 1990, and Rob earlier in 1989. Adventure Consultants has continued guiding since to this remote part of the world, and have an established relationship with ALE. The 2016/17 season will mark Adventure Consultants twenty third year of expeditions to Vinson Massif; therefore, we are experts in all of the intricacies of travelling to Antarctica.
FOOD, ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES
What showers and washing (clothes) will be available on the expedition?
You should not come on our trips and expect a shower each day, and in particular, this expedition. Showers are available at the Punta Arenas hotel prior to and after the expedition, but during the expedition they are not available. We advise people to bring wet-wipes for impromptu washes in between available showers.
Would you let us know what food will be available?
Food is one of the most crucial factors for mountaineering in Antarctica. We serve nutritious and filling food that will sustain you well for any ascents, and during the planning stage we will ask you for your feedback in advance in order for us to adjust our menus to your specific requirements or tastes. We allow you to select your own mountain snack food in Punta Arenas prior to the trip to ensure you carry only what you prefer eating on the mountain.
What is the food like?
Our guides will prepare high quality ‘western’ food from a pre-planned menu with food items from New Zealand and Chile. On previous expeditions, our teams have been served meals such as NZ lamb shanks, salmon, curries and pasta dishes. We are happy to cater for specific dietary requirements, so do let us know in advance.
What are the hotels like? Can I have my own room?
Prior to and after this expedition, we stay in a fantastic hotel right in the centre of Punta Arenas. This hotel offers classical elegance and its friendly helpful staff always look after the AC teams exceptionally well. Facilities include a restaurant, WIFI and laundry service. Personal items can also be left in the hotel's secure storage when travelling to Antarctica.
Do I need to arrive the day before the trip starts? And when should I book my flight to leave?
When travelling to Punta Arenas for any Antarctic departure, it is very important to arrive on or before day 1 of the itinerary. All of the group gear must be weighed for loading at least one day prior to departure for Union Glacier. Flights to and from Antarctica are subject to weather, therefore delays can and often do occur so it is very important to allow some flexibility with airline travel arrangements at the end of the expedition.
My travel agent says I can just get an ‘e’ ticket (electronic ticket) and will not need to be actually issued a physical ticket.
E' tickets are the standard practice these days and are now acceptable in most locations. Do ensure you print your itinerary and have your booking number with you, as this allows you to change your flight in the event that this is required.
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?
Specifically for expeditions to Antacrtica, we strongly advise against buying a ticket online. Please remember to purchase flights that give you the ability to change dates should you need to reschedule. Internet fares and frequent flyer fare purchases often have limited or no flexibility should you need to change and the ticket may be exempt, should a change need to be made for whatever reason.
Where do we meet? Will I be picked up?
Upon arrival into Punta Arenas' Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport, you will have to catch a taxi from the airport to the hotel as your guide will be busy with the final packing for the trip down to the ice. Once you have arrived at the hotel, please do let your guide know that you have arrived safely as they will be expecting you.
What if I am arriving early or departing late?
Adventure Consultants can make reservations for you and can often make recommendations in regards to sightseeing that you can enjoy. Please let our office know your specific plans.
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 Punta Arenas.
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 -40oC (-40oF) We cannot recommend enough as to buying a sleeping bag big enough to allow you to wear some clothes in if it is especially cold.
What are supergaiters? And where can I buy them?
Supergaiters have a rubber band which fits snugly over your plastic boot, for protection from crampon damage. The uppers are lined with insulation and most have convenient front zips. These are not available in New Zealand, but are available in Australia, the USA and the UK. We suggest doing an internet search for “supergaiters” and finding your nearest supplier. Our equipment coordinator can provide advice on where to obtain them.
I will be climbing at altitude, so does Adventure Consultants take this into consideration?
On all of our programs, we seriously take into consideration the altitude and ensure that all of our itineraries allow for sufficient acclimatisation and rest days, if required.
What altitude medication will be available on the expedition? Do we need to take tablets before/ during the expedition?
All our guides carry extensive medical kits and some of our bigger expeditions even have their own doctor. You need to bring any medications you regularly use (don’t forget to tell us about them) plus extra. Also bring a small first aid kit including a blister kit and mild headache medication for the normal altitude headaches.
GUIDES, PORTERS & EXPEDITION TEAM MEMBERS
How many guides will be assigned to our group?
On the Climb Antarctica expedition there is usually a 1:1 guide to climber ratio, however should you have a group or climbing partner with similar objectives and experience then we may operate at a higher ratio, depending on the technical difficulty of your objectives.
How much weight can we carry on the expedition?
Team members work together to carry group and personal equipment above the Union Glacier Base Camp. This can amount to 25kg (55lb) per person, so this reinforces the need to be 'pack' fit before arriving on the expedition.
Can I hire a porter?
If you feel you want additional support to carry equipment for you, then please contact the office to discuss pricing for this option. We can arrange for a personal porter to carry for you throughout the expedition but due to the high cost of operating in Antarctica the costs for this service are substantial.
Who goes on your trips?
Our climbers 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 highest mountains or purely adventure.
I would like to arrange a private trip, is this possible?
We are happy to arrange a private group trip for Climb Antarctica. There is no specific group size, but obviously larger groups are more cost effective. Please enquire with our office for more information.
HEALTH & FITNESS
What kind of physical condition should I be in for an Antarctic expedition?
We invite you to check out our Fitness Training for Expeditions page and recommend checking with your physician before embarking on strenuous physical activity. For our Antarctic expeditions, you should be comfortable walking for 8-10 hours with a medium to heavy weight pack and sledge hauling.
COMMUNICATION & ELECTRONIC DEVICES
Will there be any access to a satellite phone? If yes then what would be the charges for usage?
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?
The Adventure Consultants New Zealand 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 expedition? What voltage requirements?
We take solar panels and sometimes battery power packs on our expeditions. Our first priority is to charge our satellite phones and expedition electrical equipment. If your equipment has a cigarette lighter type car charger (12V DC/DC charger capable of plugging into a 'female' cigarette lighter socket), bring that as this then gives you the option to charge items at Union Glacier. 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.
What weather report service do you use? How often do you receive a weather report in the summit bid phase?
During the expedition, your guide will receive daily weather updates from the team at Union Glacier as well as updates from the Adventure Consultants office. This will then allow your guide to gauge the best summit window.
What insurance do we need to get?
When travelling down to Antarctica, this requires very specific specialised insurance and requirements include minimum medical evacuation amounts that differ for each Antarctic departures. We do also highly recommend trip cancellation insurance to cover for cancellation due to medical and personal reasons.
Do I need evacuation insurance?
Absolutely and as it is so imperative for departures to Antarctica, your insurance cover is double checked prior to be allowed to travel down to the ice.
Who do you recommend for insurance?
When you have booked on an Antarctic departure, we will send you information on the insurance option which will serve you best for obtaining the best coverage in line with what is required.
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 expeditions to Antarctica. 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 groups sizes and safe guide:client 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 +643 443 8711 (Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 5:30pm PST + 19 hours) or Freephone 1-866-757-8722 from North America.
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