PolarExplorers 1/2 Degree ski expedition is perfect for people who like the idea of participating in a North Pole expedition but don't have the time or desire to embark in a full last degree expedition. The North Pole Half Degree ski expedition incorporates all the fun of the longer expeditions in a fraction of the time. Departing from Longyearbyen, Norway, you'll board a charter flight to the Barneo ice station at approximately 89 degrees north. From here, we'll fly by helicopter to our starting point closer to the Pole. We'll spend five days skiing over the dynamic pack ice that surrounds the North Pole. You'll have all the excitement and hard work of a longer expedition packed into 5 days of adventure!.
As with all of our other expeditions this is a "hands-on" experience. You'll be participating in all aspects of the expedition, including setting up camp, cooking, tracking our progress, etc. Contact us here (link to Contact us Page) and let us tell you more about what skills you should have prior to the expedition and what skills we will be teaching you prior to our departure. Our Shakedown Trip is an ideal way to learn all the skills that are necessary for an expedition of this magnitude! See more about the Shakedown here!.
This itinerary is highly dependent on a number of factors and is subject to change. Contact us for a more detailed itinerary!
Upon registration, you will receive a comprehensive PolarExplorers gear guide that explains the importance of each item as well as gear recommendations from our past participants.
This polar expedition is for people who are in good shape and are eager to push themselves physically and mentally. Though the skiing is quite demanding, it does not require significant skill (it is very much like walking with skis on).
You will need to have very good cardiovascular endurance and the ability to pull a sled (between 20-25 kilos) for several hours at a time. Towards the end of the day when we stop skiing, it is critical that you have the energy reserves to help set up camp and keep yourself warm. Most importantly you need to be able to regulate your body temperature so that you do not get too cold, or too hot while you are on the move.
This expedition will encounter extremely cold conditions, and living in such cold conditions 24 hours a day can be very challenging. You do not have to be a world class athlete to participate in and enjoy this expedition, but every ounce of training and preparation will help to make the expedition more enjoyable and safer.
Please contact us with further questions here
Tentative 2017 Dates
April 12 – April 20, 2017
North Pole Half Degree team members receive our 5-day Polar Shakedown Training at a discounted price. Click here for more details.
All group equipment, ski system, sleeping system, team anorak (yours to keep), guide(s), communication & safety gear. Boots available to rent.
*If the 2017 departure city changes from Longyearbyen to Murmansk an additional € 1,000 will apply.
Trip cancellation insurance is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for every PolarExplorers expedition.
Medical Evacuation insurance with a minimum coverage of $300,000 USD is REQUIRED on every PolarExplorers expedition.
Ensure that your policy covers your activity, destination and any pre-existing medical conditions (to cover pre-existing medical conditions you may need to purchase your policy within 14 days or less of your initial deposit).
If you are mountaineering check that the policy covers roped technical mountain travel and the elevation limit that you will have.
Ripcord Insurance (For non-US residents use the Offer Code "ripcordintl" which will enable you to receive quotes and/or purchase policies.) If your expedition is more than USD $30,000 you may need to send an email to: ClientServices@redpointresolutions.com or call them at +1 617-307-4636
If you live in the USA you have additional options.
Travelex Insurance - Choose the TRAVEL SELECT policy and add the ADVENTURE PLUS PAK to receive appropriate medical evacuation coverage.
Travel Guard has comprehensive policies that include trip cancellation or you can purchase a Single Trip Medical Evacuation Important! You must include the optional Adventure Sports coverage upgrade if you are climbing any mountains or traveling in rope teams. (Pre-existing medical coverage is not available with this policy.)
It was truly a wonderful trip, and I thoroughly enjoyed each aspect of it. You have a great company and terrific people there, and I am sure I will have the chance to be with you all again in the future. If you need a reference to speak to any potential clients, feel free to have them contact me. I will be your greatest cheerleader.Jeff Leck
You know how to do this experience exactly right. I can't imagine anything that could make the trip any better. It was superb!Sandy Cosek
I had such a phenomenal experience with Rick and Dirk, and all of your folks at the North Pole. Thank you so much. It was really really amazing. Everything went so smoothly. Everyone was so accommodating and friendly. It couldn’t have been a better experience. Thank you so much for everything!Ann Luskey
Our guides are busy cleaning, sorting and organizing gear for next year. And there is a LOT of gear! Not to mention catching up on sleep as especially the last few days of their expedition were anything but restful! The highlight of the day was participating in the March for Science in Longyearbyen. They joined with the Norwegian Polar Institute, UNIS (the University Centre of Svalbard), local residents of Longyearbyen and others to march down the main street of Longyearbyen and through the pedestrian mall to a gathering where they listened to presentations on the importance of science in our lives and policy. It was dramatic to take part in this event in an area that has been so dramatically altered by climate change. The landscape and polar pack ice are changing significantly and it is important for science to tell us why. Our teams experienced significant changes this year. One example was having to use ice screws to set up their camps each night whereas in the past they were able to use ice stakes and skis. There was not enough snow pack this year which is an indication that they were on much younger ice. There is less and less multi-year ice so it is more susceptible to disappear each summer. Tom Skilling, THE weather guru in Chicago, has called the Arctic our "canary in the coal mine". See photos from the march below. We would like to give a final shout out to all of our team members this year and congratulate all on a job extraordinarily well done!! So very proud of each and every one of you! Last Degree Ski Team Members 10 Km Ski Team Members: North Pole Fliers with Overnight Barneo: And and extra special shout-out to our newest official members of our "Bi-Polar Club" (they have now been to both the North and South Poles with PolarExplorers): Photos from today's March for Science in Longyearbyen: CONGRATULATIONS!!! Welcome back to Terra Firma!!! Wish we had been able to be there at the Longyearbyen airport as official welcoming committee for our most amazing North Pole team members and guides! We (representing all of us around the globe following your epic exploits) are so extremely proud of each and every one of you!!! Hoping you felt all the positive Polar energy that has been coming at you for the last week, getting stronger in the last few as you faced your biggest challenges. Absolutely amazing that you flew from Longyearbyen late on 14 April, encountered polar bear in your camps, found a way around that massive lead, kept spirits up for everyone all through the day and night as you persevered to find a way North, reached your goal and arrived back in Longyearbyen around 1:00 AM on 21 April local time. All have beds and showers awaiting them. Some may be imbibing a bit after their showers... Definitely they deserve a huge celebration!!! WAY TO GO!! WHAT AN INSPIRATION TO ALL!!! HUGE CONGRATULATIONS TO SUPER COMBINED TEAM (aka Team Cool Running/Team Polaris/Maniacs/Car Ramrod) made up of Qobin, Shahrom, Boiy, Dexter, Jim, Dean, Pia, Tamas, Mike & Joel led by super guides Annie, Eric, CP and Taylor!!! They reached the Pole at 5:15 PM Norwegian time after an epic journey. What an awesome birthday present to Qobin turning 35 today and to Mike's daughter Lauren turning 5 today!! They displayed amazing determination and drive to not be thwarted by the massive open water, putting one ski in front of the other all night and all day till they reached their goal. They are obviously exhausted but elated! The helicopters will be picking all the teams up in about 1.5 hours and shuttling them back to Barneo. They will then board the Antonov straight away and head back to Longyearbyen, anticipating arriving around midnight tonight. Major kudos to all team members!! Listen to the audio updates below (transcriptions to be added shortly) Hi, it's Niall from Team Yellow reporting in from the North Pole. Whee!! So it's been 2 days since our last update and yesterday we did 16 nautical miles in pretty poor visibility and conditions. We came across an open water lead at 58 minutes North so only two miles from the Pole. A massive sense of deja vu from the last time when I did it with my other son James where we hit an open water lead at the same spot and never got across it. We camped at midnight after walking for 12 hours and got up at 5:00 and started skiing by 7:00. After a bit of walking down the open water lead, we found a way across it and made the North Pole at 1:00 this afternoon so great news! The team, all 6 of us have done extremely well, and hats off to Keith and Andrew, our guides, who put in the extra effort to make sure we got here. So all good, a very good story and delighted that we made it to the North Pole and extra special to have made it with my son Patrick. Thanks so much. Bye. This is Eric calling in from the Super Combined Ultra Special Team, and I'm happy to report that about 15 minutes ago 5:15 Norwegian time, we arrived at the North Pole. It was a tough day going. Yesterday we ran into a big open lead of water 2 miles away from the North Pole, and there was no visible way around it. We had already been skiing for upwards of 15 hours with only a few hours’ sleep, and so we decided to camp for just a couple hours to get some rest, eat some food and then our last push of the day was another 6 hours of skiing and it paid off! We managed to find a way around the lead and now we're standing at the North Pole and we couldn't be happier!! So thank you guys for following along. I know that we're all looking forward to seeing you guys in person when we get home and until then, thanks for following. TEAM YELLOW JUST CALLED IN FROM THE NORTH POLE!!!! A very hard won victory, making the prize that much sweeter. The team of Niall, Patrick (Patch), Henry, Martin, Lindsay, Mark, Keith and Andrew is knackered but very, very happy! They traveled for 7.5 hours, searching and searching for a way to get around this massive lead which was more like a lake. They finally found a small pinch area and guides Keith Heger and Andrew Leary built an ice bridge. They carefully assisted each team member cross to solid enough ice to finally head North to the Pole. The accomplishment is especially appreciated by team member Niall Carton from the UK traveling with his 15 y.o. son Patrick. In 2014, Niall skied with his other son James and they were blocked at 88° North, never ultimately able to reach the Pole. As one can imagine, this year's conditions led to a dreaded sense of deja vu. But success is theirs now! The team is resting comfortably in their tents, anticipating a helicopter pick up to Barneo in a couple of hours. Super Combined Team are still plugging away, following the trail of Team Yellow, searching for their magic spot to cross. The ice is drifting South, making for even more of a challenge. But they are equally determined and we have faith that their golden opportunity will come. Keep that positive Polar energy flowing! Congratulations to all team members for their determination, perseverance, strength and fortitude!! All should be very proud of themselves! Super Combined Team just phoned in. They are at N 89° 58.006, E 119° 23. They have met up with Team Yellow, confronting the same large lead lying between the teams and the Pole. Team Yellow has been seeking an end to this lead since their last check in. They have been camped here for several hours and are now ready to hit the trail again, determined to find a way to the Pole if at all possible. Super Combined Team (who have now dubbed themselves Cool Running/Maniacs/Car Ramrod- still having a sense of humor!) will rest for a while, then head out again. All are still safe and focused on their mission. We will keep you posted whenever further word comes in. Knowing they have family, friends and followers all over the world in many different time zones, please continue to send out positive Polar energy to help them reach their goal! The teams just called in with an update, but it won't be the last one of the day... All teams are on a mission to reach the North Pole! There have been no further signs of bear- no tracks, no bears- great news! Current positions are: Team Yellow N 89° 57.30, East 111° 58 Super Combined Team N 89° 53.9, East 110° 58. Team Yellow has been confronted by a large lead so they are heading East in hopes of finding a way around it and making the last 2.5 nautical miles to the Pole. With the finish line so close in their sights, they are determined to get there. Super Combined Team are taking a break for dinner, rehydrating and getting a little rest. They plan to break camp in a few hours and continue their trek, skiing through the night till they reach the top of the world! Everyone is pumped up, psyched, full of gritty determination. Once they reach the Pole, they are looking for a rapid helicopter flight to Barneo and perhaps quickly back to Longyearbyen. Go, go, go! Go, teams, go! Please help in sending them positive Polar energy- we know they have a lot of support behind them so let's all get it out there in the Universe!! Stay tuned- more update coming as we hear from them at the Pole! The teams reported another great day of travel with bright blue skies, nice open pans of ice, some areas of rubble but very manageable, minimal wind, and cold temps (-25°). Team Yellow led by Keith & Andrew is at N 89° 44, E 102°. Super Combined Team (Cool Running and Polaris) is at N 89° 41.6, E 111°. They did not run across any significant leads- a few cracks in the ice where they could look down at the water but they were only 4-6" wide. Love this kind of traveling! (photo from a previous expedition) Last night around 3:30 AM Keith (Team Yellow) awoke to noises outside, only to find a 3-5 year old polar bear sniffing around. With his firearm at the ready and guide Andrew with flare gun, they managed to scare the bear off to a lumbering retreat. Though the team slept the balance of the night on pins and needles, they awoke this morning to great conditions, bright blue sky, temperature around -25° C, nice older pans of ice and no open water. They made good time, resting now at N 89° 33.404, E 103° 46.119 having established polar bear watches through the night by guides Keith Heger and Andrew Leary. Picture of the bear seen by Eric Lillstrom of Team Polaris- read about their experiences below. The 10 K ski team reached the North Pole after traveling 16 km (fickle Polar ice being what it is...). They arrived late Saturday evening and spent the night at the North Pole. They encountered various conditions throughout the day but were ecstatic to reach the Pole. They were picked up by helicopter Sunday and flew back to Barneo, then on to Longyearbyen. The 3 ski last degree ski teams (Team Cool Running led by CP and Taylor, Team Polaris led by Annie and Eric, and Team Yellow led by Keith and Andrew) all made good progress, all camping at N 89° 23, E 108, 107 and 105.67 respectively. Conditions were good today with some pressure ridges, rubble fields, mix of sun and overcast, minimal wind, -18° C temps but no open water. All of the last degree teams made great progress today, especially considering their late night arrival in camp and their first full day on the ice. They reported good ice conditions with some small leads, a few pressure ridges but also some nice big pans of ice where they were able to make some distance. And a very happy birthday to Lucy Carton! Your brother and dad are thinking of you. The 10 km ski team of Stuart and Alan Clark, Karen (Clark) Ashton, David McGrain (Chimu) and Jim Chaffin called in this morning. They flew from Barneo to around 10 km from the Pole late Fri/early Saturday, skied for a bit then made camp and went to bed around 4 AM. Here is the audio update from Karen: The last degree ski teams called in updates tonight. All teams arrived at Barneo base camp eager to go. They worked out their kit, fuel, etc. and then got a helicopter ride to their respective starting points for their official start. Listen (or read) the updates from Keith Heger, Dexter Salna (team Cool Running) and Annie Aggens (team Polaris) below. A day of comings and goings... the North Pole flight team return to Longyearbyen from Barneo today and reflect on the experience of standing at the top of the world. The ski teams have taken off from Longyearbyen, heading to Barneo. Boarding the Antonov in Longyearbyen, next stop Barneo. The North Pole flight team flew this morning from Longyearbyen to Barneo, then on to the North Pole! They had a great celebration and spent quite a long time at the Pole, taking photos, drinking champagne and Aurora Borealis and soaking in the stark beauty of being at the top of the world. They returned to Barneo for the overnight and were treated to special performances by a rock band of locals from Longyearbyen. The ski teams spent the day packing up all their gear and sleds, taking them to the airport for the weigh in to get them loaded on the Antonov to head to Barneo on the morning flight tomorrow. The teams will fly on the afternoon flight around 5 PM. Driving the sleds to the airport, the teams saw this seal on an ice floe After months of preparation, training, accumulating gear and clothing, anticipation, apprehension, excitement- the 2017 PolarExplorers North Pole Expeditions have officially begun! The team members all met in Longyearbyen, Norway. We have a busy season with 3 different last degree ski teams, one 10 km ski team and 2 North Pole flight with overnight at Barneo teams.
Muhammad (Boiy) Irwan
Muqharabbin (Qobin) Mokhtarrudin
Led by guides extraordinaire:
Karen (Clark) Ashton
David (Chimu) McGrain
Led by Nancy Moundalexis
Led by Rick Sweitzer
See photos from the march below.
Photos from today's March for Science in Longyearbyen:
WAY TO GO!! WHAT AN INSPIRATION TO ALL!!!
Major kudos to all team members!!
Listen to the audio updates below (transcriptions to be added shortly)
TEAM YELLOW JUST CALLED IN FROM THE NORTH POLE!!!!
Stay tuned- more update coming as we hear from them at the Pole!
Love this kind of traveling! (photo from a previous expedition)
Picture of the bear seen by Eric Lillstrom of Team Polaris- read about their experiences below.
Here is the audio update from Karen:
Boarding the Antonov in Longyearbyen, next stop Barneo.
Driving the sleds to the airport, the teams saw this seal on an ice floe