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The South Pole


Fly to the South Pole, and stand at 90° South, the ultimate goal of polar explorers Amundsen and Scott. The chance to experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has limited booking availability. Contact us today for booking!

South Pole Union Glacier Camp

Lodging Arrangements

Our tented camp provides as much comfort and security as possible given the extreme environment. Guests planning overnight experiences will sleep in tents. There are different tent types and configuration available depending on your itinerary. Read more below, and contact us today for booking inquiries and for more information!

South Pole Conservation

This region is designated as an Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA #5). This designation helps conserve the environmental, scientific and historical values of the area. A management plan directs all activities in the area, and specific guidelines apply to all non-governmental visits. We ask for your cooperation in respecting visitor guidelines during any time we spend at the South Pole.


The heated base camp tent serves as both a dining & relaxation area for guided guests and an operations center for mountain logistics. Meals are often prepared on-site with fresh ingredients and sometimes include fresh-frozen meals prepared in advance by the chefs at Union Glacier.


Simple, open-air toilets with privacy walls provide a “loo with a view” looking out over the Nimitz Glacier. In keeping with our policy of best environmental practices, all solid waste is returned to Punta Arenas, Chile (via Union Glacier) for proper disposal. No shower facilities are provided at Vinson Base Camp.


Vinson Base Camp maintains daily communication with climbing parties, Union Glacier camp, and our Chile office, using VHF, HF, Satellite phone, and email communications. Guests can make outgoing satellite phone calls from base camp, using our Iridium handsets. Pre-paid phone cards can be purchased at Union Glacier or Vinson Base Camps.

Power Supply

Vinson Base Camp is solar powered and limited charging facilities are available in the main tent. Two types of outlets are available: USB and 120V A/C (North American Type A or B plugs). Ensure your batteries are fully charged prior to leaving Union Glacier, you have back-up batteries on hand, and you leave any unnecessary electronics behind. Please be courteous of your fellow climbers and do not leave electronics plugged in overnight.


While at Union Glacier you choose your activity or relaxation level. Each morning after breakfast we will meet with you to discuss the options and organize activities tailored to the weather and your interests. We offer a variety of group excursions, described in our detailed itineraries, and there plenty of activities you can do on your own around camp. Take a walk, cross-country ski, or try out one of our fat tire bikes on the groomed 6 mi (10 km) loop. If you’re looking for something more low-key, check out a book, movie, or game in our polar library.

In the evenings, our guest lecturers will host engaging talks on a variety of topics from polar history to glaciology. Many will share photos and stories of their own expeditions to remote parts of Antarctica and beyond. Please respect camp quiet hours between 10pm and 7am.


We maintain a fleet of specially adapted vehicles for ground transportation, snow clearing, and runway maintenance. These include two 4×4 and three 6×6 passenger vans, several tractors, Tucker Sno-Cats, industrial snow-blowers, skiway groomer, and a number of snowmobiles and sleds.


The South Pole climate consists of generally cold, dry, and windy conditions. Even through summer, the temperatures remain below freezing at all times. Camp remains typically less windy than other areas, such as the blue-ice runway. Temperatures usually range between -12° to 30°F (-24° to -1°C). Please keep in mind conditions can change rapidly and wind chill can make temperatures feel colder. You must bring everything on our required clothing & equipment lists so you are prepared for all conditions.

History of the South Pole

Several famous races to be the “first” took place during the early part of the 20th century. Brit Robert Falcon Scott, initially tasked with scientific exploration in Antarctica, became embroiled in a quest to reach the South Pole before any other. At the same time, Norwegian Roald Amundsen, who had recently lost out on the chance to be first to the North Pole, set his sights south. Scott’s expedition deviated from their scientific task on October 24th, 1911, and headed for the South Pole.


Campers at the South Pole

Early in January, he chose 4 men from the crew of 16, and the group man-handled sleds with supplies and equipment.  Trudging the final distance, they arrived at the South Pole on January 17, 1912. Unfortunately for Scott and his men, Amundsen had already planted a flag for Norway about 5 weeks prior. Amundsen, who presumably planned the expedition solely for the glory of being first to reach the South Pole, soon found his accomplishment tarnished. Scott’s party all perished in the harsh conditions they faced returning to their ship afterwards, painting the whole expedition in a dark light. 

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