South Pole - Ski the Last Degree
The following is to serve as a helpful guideline on our South 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 polar travellers?
In December of 1992, Adventure Consultant's 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 to this remote part of the world since, and have an established relationship with Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE) who provide the logistic support and safety backup for all Antarctic expeditions initiating in Punta Arenas, Chile. The 2015/16 season will mark Adventure Consultants twenty second year of expeditions to Anarctica, over which time we have developed our systems and honed strategies for success in this harsh environment.
FOOD, ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES
Would you let us know what food will be available?
Food is one of the most crucial factors for the South Pole Last Degree Expedition. We serve nutritious and filling food that will sustain you well for the journey. During the planning stage we will ask for your feedback so that we can adjust our menus to your specific requirements or tastes.
What is the food like?
As all food and equipment has to be hauled in sleds by each team member weight as well as calorific and nutritional value of food supplies is critical. Evening meals will be freeze-dried in big portions, lunches are crisp bread with cheese, salami and other dried meat and fish and lots of butter, and for breakfast, a high calorie muesli. These food are supplemented with muesli bars, chocolate, other snacks, and plenty of hot drinks.
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, Wi-Fi and laundry service. Personal items can also be left in the hotel's secure storage while 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 the South Pole Last Degree Expedition, it is very important to arrive on day 1 of the itinerary and with at least 2 full days prior to the scheduled flight to Antarctica. This allows time for preparing equipment and attending the necessary safety and environmental briefings. All of the group gear must be then 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 practise 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 you should ensure that you can make changes to your tickets. It is also 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 this expedition, 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 he/she 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 of 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. 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?
You will need a sleeping bag rated to -40oC (-40oF) We highly recommend buying a sleeping bag with some additional room inside to store water bottles, batteries and other items that you don’t want to freeze during the night.
GUIDES & EXPEDITION TEAM MEMBERS
How many guides will be assigned to our group?
On the South Pole Last Degree Expedition there is a minimum guide to client of 1:4.
How much weight will we carry on the expedition?
All expedition food and equipment must be hauled in sleds and typically these will weigh 30kg.
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 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 to Antarctica.
HEALTH & FITNESS
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, hiking and tyre dragging 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 6-8 hours of vigorous activity a day for 7 days in a row.
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. We rely on solar power and cannot guarantee that the phone will be available 24 hours 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 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. For this expedition we recommend that you bring a personal solar panel suitable to charge the devices you will be carrying and are happy to advise accordingly.
What weather report service do you use? How often do you receive a weather reports?
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.
What insurance do we need to get?
Travelling to Antarctica requires very specific specialised insurance and requirements include a minimum medical evacuation cover of US$300,000. We also highly recommend trip cancellation insurance to cover for cancellation due to medical or personal reasons.
Do I need evacuation insurance?
Absolutely and as it is imperative for departures to Antarctica. Your insurance cover will be double checked prior to being allowed to travel down to the ice.
Who do you recommend for insurance?
After receiving your booking we will send you information on the insurance option which will serve you best for obtaining the best coverage in line with the expedition requirements.
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?
For this expedition we only accept payments by bank transfer - please contact us for account details.
What is included in the cost of my trip? Does it include airfare?
You can click here for trip inclusions and exclusions or here for downloadable Trip Notes which include information on what is and isn't included. 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 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 complete our online booking form or you can call 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. The trip deposit may be paid either through a telegraphic transfer (information here) or by using selecting our secure credit card payment option on the booking form.
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