Bring us your Antarctic dream and we will help make it a reality. We have the logistical capabilities and experience to provide support to almost any type of expedition to the interior of Antarctica.
ALE's expedition planning team is without a doubt the most experienced in the business. We draw on a wealth of historical data and up-to-date field experience to advise on routes, costs, equipment, Treaty requirements and more. We will help you fine tune your plans to fit your budget, timeline, and abilities. We have worked with television and movie crews, physically challenged adventurers, families, individuals, scientists and National Antarctic Programs. Whether you want to ski, kite, bike, or do a vehicle traverse to the Pole and beyond, we will help you make it happen.
Meet Our Expeditions Manager
One of your first decisions when planning an expedition is whether you wish to travel independently or with a guide. We're proud to employ one of the best guiding teams in the world. Our polar expedition guides have many years of experience working in the Arctic and Antarctic and many have undertaken their own independent expeditions in the polar regions. You can hire guide(s) to accompany your group into the field or we can support your planning and skills training if you wish to take on an independent expedition.
Meet Our Guiding Team
Our talented Travel Safety team is ready to assist you with route planning. They will help you assess the safety of field camp locations and travel routes using on-the-ground surveys, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and radar and optical images. They can provide GPS tracks for known routes (e.g. Hercules Inlet-South Pole) and are available to help pre-plan over-snow traverses through less-known areas.
All proposed Antarctic activities must undergo an environmental impact assessment and all visitors to Antarctica are required to have authority from a relevant government.
ALE holds a multi-year Initial Environmental Evaluation assessed by the US Environmental Protection Agency and a Waste Management Permit issued by the NSF Office of Polar Programs. Many expeditions will be covered by our authorities and permits, but they don’t cover every circumstance.
Should your expedition require its own permit, ALE has extensive expertise navigating the Antarctic Treaty System and can assist with permit applications.
ALE services an intercontinental air bridge between Punta Arenas, Chile and the Ellsworth Mountains, West Antarctica. Weekly, scheduled passenger and cargo flights run from November through January, using an Ilyushin IL-76 TD transport aircraft with a flight time of 4 1/4 hours.
All flights depart from Presidente Carlos Ibañez del Campo airport (PUQ/SCCI) in Punta Arenas and land at Union Glacier ice runway (UGL/SCGC). Flights hold up to 60 passengers or two shipping containers volume of cargo, with a total capacity of 17,500 kg. Dedicated flights can be arranged for large groups of passengers or cargo. All flights are weather dependent.
Flights beyond Union Glacier are by ski aircraft. Each season we contract two de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter one and Basler BT-67 aircraft and these operate from ALE’s Union Glacier Camp throughout the summer season. We maintain pre-placed fuel caches to support ski aircraft operations throughout West Antarctica. We always have a minimum of two ski aircraft in Antarctica to provide complete self-sufficiency for normal operations and for emergency response.
ALE is the only private company that maintains a seasonal camp infrastructure and pre-placed fuel caches to support South Pole and other expeditions. During the Antarctic operating season (November through January) we have a fully operational base camp at Union Glacier and temporary camps at the South Pole, Mount Vinson, and near the Gould Bay Emperor Penguin Colony.
Learn more about Our Camps
Re-Supplies & Caches
ALE re-supplies field teams and pre-places caches by air and by overland traverse. Our strategic location and the size of our operation help us provide cost-effective options for large and small projects.
Smaller re-supplies are generally placed by ski aircraft. Where possible we combine re-supplies for several groups or include cargo on one of our scheduled program flights.
Larger caches may be transported by tractor-train and, where practical, are combined with ALE’s own caching traverses to keep your costs down. Very large quantities of cargo (up to 17 tonne per load) can be airdropped to remote or difficult sites.
ALE maintains regular communication with all field parties, using Iridium satellite phone or VHF radio contact. Two missed calls (48 hours no contact) raises an alert and triggers an emergency response if the party cannot be contacted.
Should you need emergency assistance, ALE is ready to respond at any time. We maintain 24-hour emergency response stations, both at Union Glacier Camp and in Punta Arenas, Chile.
Our field response team includes a doctor and medic who specialize in emergency and remote medicine; mountain guides with advanced first aid training; firefighting personnel; and equipment operators who can assist with large vehicle incidents.
Custom Clearance & Warehousing
ALE is able to provide a full range of services related to international forwarding, customs clearing, and warehousing. ALE has several warehouses, including bonded warehouses at Punta Arenas airport and in town.
Specific customs procedures apply to international cargo continuing to Antarctica and there are limitations on package size/weight on flights from Santiago to Punta Arenas. We are happy to provide guidance and arrange local clearance and handling on request. Please contact us for details.
The first step to working with ALE is to complete and return our Expedition Planning Questionnaire and Expeditions Skills Questionnaire. With this information, we will be able to start the planning process and give you a cost estimate for your expedition. Once you are ready to confirm your expedition, our Expedition Reservation Checklist will outline each step in the process.
Expedition Planning Questionnaire
Expedition Skills Questionnaire
Expedition Reservation Checklist