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.
ALE is the only private operator with a seasonal camp at the South Pole. Our 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 between our camp and the Pole.
Our tented camp at the South Pole is designed to provide as much comfort and security as possible given the extreme environment. ALE guests on overnight experiences will sleep 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.
Be prepared for extreme conditions. Temperatures range from -31° to -13°F (-35° to -25°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! One of our experienced medics accompanies all South Pole Flights and is ready to assist you should you have any issues with the cold or altitude. With the right clothing and equipment, you will quickly settle in and enjoy life at the bottom of the world.
Meals are prepared by one of our talented chefs and served in a large heated dining tent. This main tent is the center of activity for the camp is open to expedition groups and guests to enjoy together.
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. No shower facilities are provided at South Pole Camp.
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.
ALE’s South Pole Camp maintains daily communication with Union Glacier Camp using satellite phone and email communications. Guests can make outgoing satellite phone calls using our Iridium handsets. Pre-paid phone cards can be purchased at Union Glacier.
South Pole Camp is solar powered. Limited charging facilities are available in the main tent and can support USB, US 110 V 3-pin electrical plugs, or 12 V DC-DC chargers capable of plugging into a “female” cigarette lighter socket. 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.
The sun rises and sets only once a year at the South Pole and we will have 24-hour daylight throughout our stay. Our South Pole Camp schedule will operate on the same time as Punta Arenas, Chile and Union Glacier Camp, where our flights originate. Our other camps at Mount Vinson and the Emperor Penguin Colony also operate on this same time.
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 Camp Time
= GMT (UK time) -3 hours
= Eastern Standard Time (NYC time) +2 hours
= Pacific Standard Time (LA time) +5 hours.
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.