Climb Antarctica

ITINERARY

Arrival Day

 

Arrive in Puntas Arenas 2 days prior to departure

Pre-departure Day

 

Gear Check and Welcome Meeting

Day 1

 

Fly to Union Glacier

Day 2 - 4 

 

Expedition Preparations

Day 5 - 11

 

Climbing

Day 12

 

Return to Punta Arenas

Flexible Departure Day

 

Fly home

 

Note: Early arrival allows for expedition preparation and also allows a buffer for flight and luggage delays should your travels to Chile not go as scheduled. Flights to Antarctica are not held for delayed passengers or luggage.

DETAILED ITINERARY

Pre-departure Day
We will arrange a specific time to come to your hotel and review your personal clothing and equipment. Please lay out all of the items on our Required Clothing and Equipment List in your hotel room so we can go through each item with you. We will help sort the items to pack in your checked luggage vs. your carry-on bag and what items to leave behind in Punta Arenas.

The evening before your Antarctic flight, you are invited to our office for an important safety briefing to be followed by cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. At the briefing, we will describe the flight dispatch process, update you on the current weather, and prepare you for arrival at Union Glacier. Please stay to enjoy pisco sours served over ancient Antarctic ice with your fellow travelers

Day 1: Fly to Antarctica
We will call you at your hotel in the morning to advise you of current conditions in Antarctica. If the weather is suitable for our flight, we will pick you up at your hotel within the hour. Please meet us in the lobby with hotel bills paid, ready to board the bus. At the Punta Arenas airport, we board our chartered jet for the 4¼ hour flight to Antarctica. Our route crosses the Drake Passage, then follows the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the spine of the Ellsworth Mountains. We land on a naturally occurring blue-ice runway on Union Glacier where you will take your first steps on Antarctica. Climb aboard one of our specially-adapted vans for the 5 mi (8 km) shuttle to our main camp. Our friendly staff will provide a welcome tour of camp and show you to your tent.

*Every effort will be made to keep to the scheduled flight date and we will depart as soon as weather and runway conditions permit. Please understand that delays are common in Antarctic travel. All flights are dependent on weather, aircraft serviceability, and local conditions. Our staff will stay in close contact with you and will provide you with regular flight updates.

Day 2 - 4: Expedition Preparations
Your climbing team will spend the first few days at Union Glacier brushing up on skills and getting acclimated to the Antarctic conditions. You’ll practice rope work, crevasse rescue, navigation, weather observations, and polar camping skills. During this period, you will also discuss and plan your objectives with your guide and pack your equipment to ready for departure. While based in Union Glacier Camp, you may also have time to join an excursion to one of the near-by scenic destinations such as the Drake Icefall or the beach at Rossman Cove.

Day 5 - 11: Climbing
It’s time to explore Antarctica as it should be, untracked and pristine. Peaks, ridges, and canyons await and your itinerary is up to you and your guide. Together you’ll develop an expedition plan to match your skills and interests. You can do local day trips and return home to Union Glacier Camp each evening for dinner, or you can set out on a multi-day expedition to explore many of the valleys and peaks in the Heritage Range. Routes vary from technical ascents and easy snow climbs to magnificent ridge traverses with views over the Ronne Ice Shelf and Polar Plateau. Each experience is unique and the opportunities for exploration are endless. Only a handful of people have traversed this remote region and you may be the first person to attempt a new route and marvel at the view below. Once your climbing dreams are fulfilled, you’ll return to Union Glacier Camp to enjoy a celebration meal and toast your achievements!

Day 12: Fly to Punta Arenas
When weather and runway conditions permit, our intercontinental aircraft will arrive at Union Glacier to transport you back to Chile. Our staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you back to your hotel.

Flexible Departure Day: Depart for Home
We recommend booking your flight home one week after your return Antarctic flight. If you purchase a full-fare ticket, most airlines will allow you to move your departure date. It is important to give yourself a buffer as delays are common in Antarctic travel. Our Punta Arenas team can provide a list of local tour operators and excursions if you wish to explore Chile before you return home. 

SIGHTSEEING OPTIONS FROM UNION GLACIER

Elephant’s Head
Ride in one of our vehicles to this dramatic marble buttress overlooking the blue-ice runway. Beautiful ice pools and moraines offer endless opportunities for photography. If you’re looking for something more active, you’ll have the opportunity to hike up to the base of Elephant’s Head or all the way to the top of Rhodes Bluff for panoramic views of Union Glacier and the Heritage Range.

Drake Icefall
Named in the 1960s after geologist Benjamin Drake IV, this impressive icefall tumbles off the polar plateau into Union Glacier. Winds from the South Pole carve huge waves into the blue-ice and polish the surface into a high shine.

Charles Peak Windscoop
Discover the power of wind on ice as you wander through a sparkling turquoise corridor. If you’re truly adventurous, this is a prime place to try ice climbing with one of our experienced guides. For the less vertically inclined, you can rock hunt to your heart’s content. Just remember to leave them in place, as nothing may be removed from Antarctica.

The Beach at Rossman Cove
Another spectacular setting for blue-ice photography and panoramic views! Take cross-country skis with you or a picnic lunch and enjoy Antarctica’s version of a glacial beach getaway. Hidden Valley Our staff’s favorite getaway—this secret canyon opens up to a beautiful valley prime for hiking, climbing, and backcountry skiing.

If you’d prefer to stay closer to camp, we have a variety of activities for all abilities. You can check out a pair of cross-country skis or a fat-tire bike and take a spin around our groomed 10k loop or you can enjoy a cup of tea, an Antarctic book, or fun game in our camp library. In the evenings, we regularly offer lectures and films tailored to your experience.

 

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