The Expedition Trip Notes provide detailed information and background for Adventure Consultants' South Pole All the Way Expedition.
You can view the trip notes online by clicking the image or download a pdf by clicking the following link:
South Pole All the Way Trip Notes
The team will have a minimum size of 4 members and 1 guide and a maximum size of 8 members and 2 guides.
The Adventure Consultants team includes experienced Arctic/Antarctic guides whose knowledge and expertise is imperative in making these expeditions a success. The guides for each trek are confirmed 6 months prior to departure time.
Head Office Support Team
Running successful journeys and expeditions is more about experience, knowledge and strategic management than any other factors. As an organisation, we place a substantial amount of time and resources into ensuring our trips are well planned and supported. You can be assured that the AC staff will provide you with friendly advice and knowledgeable support throughout the planning stages of your trip and we will be there to provide backup while the trip is running.
Amelia Crofut-Brittingham, Client Liaison
Amelia has been with Adventure Consultants since October 2017 in the role of Client Liaison. Having spent many years working in the ski industry, Amelia brings a wealth of experience to her role.
Expedition members will be provided with pre-trip medical advice and a medical questionnaire and asked to visit their family physician to receive a full medical examination. This information will be sighted only by the expedition leader and our medical adviser and treated with full confidentiality.
Level of Experience Required
The South Pole All the Way expedition is for the most dedicated of polar travellers. You need significant skiing and cold weather camping experience, along with a very high degree of fitness. Typically candidates will have participated in cold weather ski expeditions of some length such as North Pole or South Pole Last Degree expeditions or the Greenland Crossing.
A high degree of discipline and diligence must be maintained throughout the expedition, skiing for 8-10 hours per day for 50-60 days in a row, with team members helping to set up camp and prepare meals. Rigorous daily training must be undertaken for 3-6 months prior to the expedition start. See our Fitness Training Programs for information on how we can help you prepare for the expedition.
We require all participants to submit a resume of their ski expedition experience so that we can make appropriate suggestions for further training and ensure you get the most out of your expedition.
Each of our trips is individually rated according to its physical and technical difficulty, displayed in the icons towards the top of each trip page. You can click on the accompanying question mark for additional descriptions and the full run-down of our grading system is available on our Difficulty Ratings page.
Preparing for Your Trip
Effective work at high latitudes requires a good (and specific) physiology for the activity and a solid outdoors background. Of course, there is much we can do to enhance the physical attributes we have and these are best achieved by specific training. See our Fitness Training Programs for information on how we can help you prepare for the expedition.
The physical issues endured by polar travellers are the sheer amount of physical output required on a daily basis, and repetitive strain injuries incurred from said activity. Weight loss often occurs through the sheer inability to eat the amount of calories you burn up in a day. There are ways to try to minimise this through diet, pace and regular snacks throughout each working day. However, on the longer trips, the result of all the effort is a lower level of performance and, consequently, the muscular system deteriorates through a calorific deficit. It is worth anticipating muscle loss and therefore you should train to ensure you have a bit extra before you leave.
Being generally fit, healthy and strong is paramount to doing well on these travels. Training should focus on developing cardiovascular capability and strength training for specific muscle groups. There is no training for pulling sleds like pulling sleds! Sport specific training will ensure your ligaments and tendons are conditioned for the stresses of expedition work so if you can get an old tractor tyre out and drag it around behind you in a field then that will ultimately be of some benefit. However, this can be difficult to do and many polar travellers have focused on other ways to simulate the strains to be experienced in the polar regions. Being overweight places more stress on your system so ensure that you are not putting yourself at a disadvantage before you start. It is recommended that you focus on strength development and stamina training as your body is constantly stressed through sled hauling and dealing with the cold. Lots of gym work is recommended and a physical trainer will assist in working on any areas of weakness you may have. Additionally, a lot of long-duration exercise like hill walking (with a pack), mountain biking on hills and swimming are beneficial. Be careful not to over-train just prior to the trip as you will need all your reserves and you don’t want to 'peak' too early. The fact that you are looking at losing (sometimes) considerable body mass indicates the need to be quite heavy at the start of the trip so do not over-do it prior to the expedition.
Aerobic exercise should not be ignored either as you do not want to turn up fully bulked, but not able to perform short duration bursts of energy expenditure where necessary, like when you set out and are feeling cold. During aerobic training, it is necessary to monitor your heart rate to ensure you are training your cardiovascular system. This can be achieved by using a heart rate monitor or by manually measuring heart rate during exertion. A basic formula is 220-Age=heart rate (HR) maximum. Operating at 70-85% of your HR max will ensure you are exercising to enhance cardiovascular fitness.
For all the effort that goes into training the body, the mental attributes are worth some analysis and attention also. The most important of these are a strong work ethic, an ability to pace one’s self for a long duration project, strength of character and—above all—the ability to get on with others. If you are not a 'team player' or you find that you often come into conflict with others (even if you do think it is their fault) then you should not consider taking part in polar expeditions, unless you do it solo!
Adventure Consultants also offers a specific Polar Training Course to introduce the essential skills and techniques you’ll need to prepare for a polar expedition. Based in the New Zealand mountains, this is a 4-10 day course designed to give you greater confidence in the judgment and decision making aspects of polar travel. While no course can prepare you fully for the real thing, this course offers a variety of terrain that enables you to develop the essential skills you will need.
What You Carry
Each member will have a high tech sled built specifically for Arctic/Antarctic use. These will be loaded with personal gear as well as a share of the expedition equipment. We utilise three pre-placed food caches en-route to minimise the weight of our sleds. Each sled is estimated to weigh around 50-60kg/110-130lbs at the beginning of the phase and reduce over the duration of the expedition as food and fuel is consumed. The complete load is carried on the sled rather than carry a backpack.
It is possible for evacuations to take place along the route if necessary. However there are areas with sufficient sastrugi to make aircraft landings impossible and anyone needing evacuation would need to be transported to a sastrugi free area for a pick up which may take days of travel. For this reason expedition members need to fully understand that evacuation is not an ‘on demand’ service and weather conditions can preclude flights for days or even weeks at a time. The best way to protect oneself against problems of this nature is to be fully prepared, both physically and mentally for an adventure of this magnitude. Additionally, an aircraft rescue can be very expensive and we require expedition members to be insured against this possibility.
Clothing & Equipment
For most of the trek members need only be clad in fleece clothing with windproof shells. Warm expedition mittens and hats will be necessary in addition to a facemask and fur ruff around the jacket hood to keep wind and blowing snow at bay. Lightweight down clothing will help members endure the cold starts and be additional warmth (if needed) in the sleeping bag.
We will supply all of the team equipment and you will only need your personal equipment. We supply sleds, tents, stoves, pots, food and fuel, ropes and sled harnesses, GPS and communication equipment.
You will need to supply all your own clothing, sleeping gear and ski equipment. If you wish we can assist with the purchase of equipment and clothing suitable to the expedition.
A full equipment list will be sent to you on confirmation of booking.
Communication & Messages
We intend to carry the latest in satellite communication equipment facilitating good contact with the outside world. This also improves safety in that we have instant communications with ANI in the unlikely event an evacuation is required. It is possible for you to utilize our equipment or you may bring your own but we request you confirm with us to establish power requirements can be met.
The effective temperature is defined by the strength of the wind and we are battling against the catabatic winds descending from the polar plateau. Temperatures will be in the range of – 40 degrees C and F to 0 degrees C (32 degrees F). The temperatures will rise during the season but it is near the end of the expedition when we gain higher altitudes near the pole that we will have the colder temperatures. Ultimately a lot will depend on the season and the general weather patterns. Weather analysis will be provided by experts in Polar meteorology, which will assist us in being forewarned of major weather systems.