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South Pole Camp

Portable comfort and security in extreme conditions

Many of our Experiences take you away from ANI’s main Antarctic camp at Union Glacier, to one of our field camps. Facilities at ANI’s field camps are necessarily more modest than at Union Glacier. Equipment must be lightweight and portable, yet still strong enough to withstand Antarctic conditions. We sleep in mountaineering-style tents and eat a combination of fresh-frozen meals, prepared by our chefs at Union Glacier; and de-hydrated meals.

South Pole Camp

When the great Polar explorers, Amundsen and Scott, arrived at the South Pole a century ago, there was only the sound of the wind and an endless expanse of white stretching in all directions. Today the South Pole is a crossroads for modern adventurers and polar science. A simple marker and plaque designate the Geographic South Pole, while a substantial research station lies just a few steps away. ANI’s South Pole Camp is situated about 0.6 miles (1 km) from the Geographic South Pole Marker and Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station. A flagged route marks the path to and from our camp.

Be prepared for extreme conditions. Temperatures hover around -22°F (-30°C) and the physiological altitude (how high it feels) is roughly 11,000 ft (3,300m). You may feel the effects of altitude, including shortness of breath and mild headache and it will be cold! However you will find that with the right clothing and a little help from our staff, you will quickly settle in and enjoy life at the bottom of the world.

Facilities

Camp facilities are designed to provide as much comfort as possible, while minimizing our environmental footprint. Meals are served in a heated dining tent, which is also available for indoor activities and relaxation. This main tent is the center of activity for expedition groups and individuals.

Accommodation is in two-person mountaineering tents like those used by ski expedition teams. The tents are unheated, but you will stay nice and warm with your insulated sleeping mat and polar-rated sleeping bag. The small tent size and double occupancy accommodation also maximize heat retention.

A medic accompanies all of our South Pole flights and is available should you have difficulties with the altitude or any other ailment.

Toilet facilities are housed in a tent and are similar to those used at Union Glacier Camp. All waste is returned to Union Glacier Camp for proper disposal in Chile.

Activities

While camping at the South Pole you can participate in activities, mingle with teams who have skied to the Pole, or simply relax and take it all in. Choose from a variety of morning and afternoon activity sessions, with opportunities to visit the South Pole Markers, South Pole Visitor Center and Amundsen-Scott Station; lectures on Antarctic themes; DVD presentations; and games and activities organized by our guides.

Time Zone

The sun rises and sets only once a year at the South Pole and we will have 24-hour daylight throughout our stay. Our camp schedule will be based on Union Glacier/Chile time (UTC-3). But we may find ourselves keeping odd hours as we coordinate our activities with those of Amundsen-Scott Station (NZ-SP time UTC+13).

South Pole ASMA #5

The South Pole has been designated as an Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA #5) to 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 may spend at the South Pole.

South Pole Facts
  • Elevation 9301ft (2835m)
  • The South Pole is located on glacier ice that moves approximately 10 m per year
  • The ice sheet is 9350ft (2850m) thick at the pole
  • Snow accumulation is approximately 9" (20 cm) per year
  • Lowest recorded temperature -117F (–83C) (June 1982)
  • Annual mean temperature -56F (–49C)
  • First person to arrive at the South Pole was Roald Amundsen, December 14, 1911
  • Robert Falcon Scott arrived January 17, 1912
  • First flight over South Pole, Richard Byrd 1929
  • First South Pole station completed January 1957 for IGY
  • Second South Pole station (the Dome) completed 1975
  • Current Amundsen-Scott Station began operations in 2003
  • Summer population typically more than 200
  • Winter-over population less than 100
Photos from Flickr:
Guests Outside Main ANI Tent
ANI Camp Looking Toward Amundsen-Scott Station
Looking from Ceremonial Pole toward ANI Camp
Trail to ANI Camp from Pole Markers
Main ANI Tent and ANI Van
Main ANI Tent
Inside Main ANI Tent
Basler Aircraft and South Pole Camp
Expedition Sled and Tent
SleepingTents and Aircraft
Sleeping Tents and Basler Ski Aircraft