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Sunday, 06 February 2005 00:00

Q&A On top of the World

I would like to take a trip to the North Pole. Are there agencies that organize these trips? - Joseph M. Hassett, NY, NY

NY Times

The North Pole and its vast tracts of pack ice and polar wildlife have been...

a lure for adventure travelers since Adm. Robert E. Peary made his way there almost a century ago. Not many travelers expect to make the trip in their lifetime, but a variety of options are available - none cheap, though cheaper than some years ago - including travel by icebreaker or helicopter or, for the intrepid, on foot, on skis or by dogsled.

One company offering treks to the geographic North Pole at the 90th parallel is The Northwest Passage, in Wilmette, IL, which pioneered such trips in 1993. Rick Seitzer, Northwest Passage's founder, has been more than a dozen times; group size for the trips has ranged from 6 to 16, with ages from 16 to 69.

This year, The Northwest Passage is offering a Polar Ski trek (next year it will be part dogsled) from remote Longyearbyen, on the island of Spitzbergen, Norway, with up to eight hours of skiing a day from Borneo base camp, at 89 degrees north latitude; on reaching the Pole, travelers celebrate with champagne and photos and call home, then are picked up by helicopter.

The trip is set for April 9 to 21; $15,500 a person, which includes some clothing and equipment. A Polar Shakedown trip ($2,500; April 5-9), a training session, is all but obligatory, and makes the trip much more enjoyable, says Mr. Sweitzer. If such a trek sounds too rigorous, you can take a Champagne Flight by helicopter from the Borneo base camp, $11,500 to $14,000 (three to five days), departing April 9 and 18. Information (800) 732-7328

 

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