London-based Brown + Hudson crafts one-of-a-kind travel experiences in every corner of the globe – wherever you and your companions may wish to explore, specializing in one-of-a-kind trips.
Like a journalist digging deeper to find the insights behind the facts, Brown & Hudson uses its insiders’ knowledge and vast network of contacts to craft a trip that’s tailored to your interests and individual style. And like a novelist balancing the nuances of character with the intricacies of plot, they weave together your wishes with their expertise around what’s possible in a region and their ability to achieve the seemingly impossible.
Recent trips include a wildlife and anthropology journey through Malaysia and Indonesia to a grand tour that links several of the World Wildlife Fund’s most important projects, blending opportunities to learn and lend a hand with time to relax and explore other aspects of Mozambique.
Until recently the preserve only of the hardiest explorers and research scientists, reaching the South Pole has stood – even more than summiting Everest – as Earth’s ultimate challenge. Today you can reach it by car.
Brown + Hudson is offering private groups of up to six people the very real and thrilling chance to join the illustrious ranks of heroes such as Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton. At the same time, it is also an opportunity to understand both your own and your group’s potential in the planet’s most extreme environment.
Your route will follow in the footsteps of English explorer Sir Vivian Fuchs, whose expeditionary team completed the first overland crossing of Antarctica in 1958. Fewer than 40 people have ever completed the 1,150-mile-long crossing, and nearly half of these were on Fuchs’s team.
The drive of your life begins with basic training. Even though a polar-adapted 6×6 drives just like a normal car in most conditions, extra skills are required to make use of the extra capabilities it offers, and to safely navigate in the most demanding conditions.
A long weekend in Iceland tutored by experts will take you up onto the Landmannalaugar Glacier to learn specific driving techniques such as how to use tire pressure, driving in deep snow, navigating in a whiteout, safety, and how to handle cold weather conditions. These will ready you for the test ahead. You will also be required to pass a physical fitness evaluation to ensure that you are able to handle the conditions.
Suitably prepared, the real expedition begins. The jumping-off point for Antarctica is Punta Arenas in Chilean Patagonia. Here you will receive a full briefing, before, if the weather allows, boarding a Gulfstream G280 aircraft.
Your flight lasts just under three hours and will take you directly across the Drake Passage to the ice runway at Union Glacier Camp in the Antarctic interior.
If bad weather means you cannot fly immediately, you’ll have the added bonus of being able to explore the magnificent southern Andes in Torres del Paine National Park until the weather clears.
At Union Glacier, your expedition team and 6×6 trucks will be waiting. You will be guided by a team of highly qualified polar guides that boast decades of experience working and guiding in the White Continent.
You will also travel with a camp team and a private chef to prepare the meat-and-carb-heavy meals that power your day’s adventures, with ingredients from the finest gourmet fare to your favorite drinks flown in.
The driving is normally shared, with two to a vehicle, at least one of which will tow a trailer carrying provisions. All logistical equipment is provided, and you will only need to bring a check-list of clothing and any personal items.
The driving and daily logistical input are shared between all participants. This is a fully-fledged expedition and requires physical and mental commitment from all those participating. A flexible tactical plan is in place for emergency medical evacuation, and communications include (reception permitting) email and texting facilities.
After familiarizing yourself with the vehicle and loading up supplies, you’ll drive out to Constellation Inlet on the Ronne Ice Shelf where Fuchs started his expedition. After first camp here you’ll then trackback before heading southward to the Pole.
Little can be guaranteed in Antarctica but, during the four-to-five-day drive to the Pole, you can expect to encounter perpetual daylight, solar haloes, magical blue skies, high and low visibility, and truly epic vistas.
Weather is just the first of many challenges – temperatures here in the driving season between late November and early January averages between minus 20C and minus 30C, excluding wind chill, but can easily drop to minus 50C. Crossing the immense sastrugi field which begins 250 miles into your expedition is a serious challenge, and will require teamwork and stamina.
To make things more bearable, you’ll be provided with specialized outerwear to keep you as warm as possible, while overnight stops will be in fully equipped luxury private camps, with gourmet food and fine wines in Brown + Hudson’s signature Luxpedition style.
And although you won’t have running water, your tents are extremely well insulated and come with private bathrooms and dry flush toilets – you will even have hot water bottles placed under your pillows to keep things toasty.
Arriving at the bottom of the world, you’ll have a rest day during which, after toasting your achievement with champagne, we hope to be able to obtain an invitation for you to visit the permanent National Science Foundation station at the Pole. As the nerve centre of the United States Antarctic Program, the station conducts high-quality scientific research and you will be able to meet the scientists and learn about their climatological, geological and conservation work.
Your expedition then turns back north to Union Glacier, arriving around four to five days later. Additional activities such as skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, kiteboarding, and mountaineering can also be arranged, and we’d be happy to organize this for you. Before you fly back to Punta Arenas and civilization, for those who wish, we can charter a ski plane to take you to a camp built on the frozen Weddell Sea. Here you’ll have a chance to spend time at the Emperor penguin colony at Gould Bay.
When To Go
The driving season runs from late November to early January. This allows you to combine basic training in Iceland with the main expedition. Alternatively, basic training may be arranged earlier.
Basic training in Iceland is 4 nights. While the main round trip from and back to Union Glacier will take an anticipated 10 nights, a minimum of 3 extra days should be factored in in addition to any extra time you may wish to spend exploring Antarctica. We suggest that flights home from Punta Arenas are kept as flexible as possible so that any weather interruptions do not cause inconvenience with plans you may have made immediately following the scheduled end-date of the expedition.
While we are able to cater to a group as large as eight, six or fewer is the optimal number.
Is This For Me?
If you have a thirst for adventure or wish to pit your wits against the world’s toughest environment while accomplishing something very few have ever done, this may well be for you. travel with a group of like-minded friends, or even make this part of the ultimate boardroom retreat – either way, no special skills are required. All training will be provided, and you will be in the safest possible hands. More important is to understand that this trip is expeditionary in nature and that while considerable efforts have been made to ensure your comfort, Antarctica is still a very challenging environment.
Starting from $280,000 per person based on a group of six people traveling. This includes your basic training in Iceland, return flights by Gulfstream G280 between Punta Arenas and Union Glacier, the services of a private expedition team, all food, equipment, accommodation and of course your vehicle.
Flights to and from Iceland and Punta Arenas are not included, but we will be happy to quote these separately. We will also be happy to quote for any additional activities you may wish to consider.