What Will It Cost You?
By Air - The first commercial flights landed at the South Pole in the 1960s, and since 1987, Adventure Network International has been flying scientists, explorers, film crews, and the occasional wealthy private citizen to the pole from their base camp in the Patriot Hills. However, 2008 marks the first year that tourists will be able to book flights to the South Pole. Under a great deal of international scrutiny and criticism, a British travel company is currently scheduling tourist trips for December 2008. The trips will be 6-hour flights to the pole from Patriot Hills, and passengers will be allowed to get out and walk around for 4 hours, if weather permits. There will be only four flights, 11 people per flight. Cost: $36,000 per person
Guided Expeditions - Costs cover most expenses once you arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile (i.e., flights to and from Antarctica, guide services, meals and lodging in Antarctica, etc.).
- Ski the last degree: 10-21 days. You fly from Punta Arenas to Patriot Hills, Antarctica where you, your guide, and other group members are flown to 89°S. From there you ski “the last degree” – 69 miles to the Geographic South Pole. Depending on the guide service, you may be pulling a sled or you may not. You may have gourmet food, soft mattresses at night, and insulated tents, or you may not. Shop around for the type of trip you prefer. Either way, once you arrive at the pole, you will spend about 4 hours there before a small plane arrives to return you to Patriot Hills for a celebratory dinner. You leave for Chile the next day. Cost: $41,000 to $42,000 per person
- Messner start: 35-40 days. You, your guide, and group members will be flown from Patriot Hills to the coastal location where Reihold Messner and Arved Fuchs started their 1989 expedition. You will then ski and pull sledges 555 miles, over unexplored terrain, to the Geographic Pole. Cost: $50,000 – $51,500 per person
- Patriot Hills start: 55-60 days. This is a 600-mile unsupported expedition. You, your guide, and group members will ski and pull sledges loaded with supplies and food for 55 days, to the Geographic South Pole. Once there, you will be picked up in a small plane and returned to Patriot Hills. Cost: $60,000 to $62,000 per person
- Ski all the way: 65-68 days. This is a 730-mile supported trip from coast to pole, skiing over glacier ice, ice cap, and mountain passes. Food, supplies, beer, wine, bed linens, clean laundry, and more will be flown in to prearranged locations along the route. Cost: $62,000 to $65,000 per person
- Mount Vinson and Ski the Last Degree Combo: You will be part of a guided expedition to climb Mt. Vinson, the highest point in Antarctica. Upon your return to Patriot Hills, you will rest for a few days and then be flown to 89°S where you ski “the last degree” – 69 miles to the Geographic South Pole – before being picked up and flown back to Patriot Hills. Cost: $57,000 to $60,000 per person