NORTH POLE LAST DEGREE EXPEDITION
This is the real way to the North Pole. In about 10 days you will experience everything the Polar Sea has in it’s armour: The cold, the pressure ridges, the leads, the drifting ice, the stunning light, the team spirit, how to survive and conquer the harshest environment on earth!
To reach the 90° North will fill you with both pride and immense happiness – this is a world and an experience for the very few.
Food and equipment
Joining a trip to the cold world, being outdoors for many days in a row, sleeping in a tent, skiing for about 8 hours on an average a day, still being able to keep up the pace, spirit, motivation, strength and also being able to enjoy it, obviously requires some attention to equipment.
Once you sign up for one of our trips, we will send you the complete and detailed equipmentlist that explains thoroughly what you need for the specific trip, why and how to use the equipment.
One of the main reasons we have had great success on our many trips, is because we supply the essential equipment that is not easy (nor practical) for you to get yourself. These items are essential in getting you through the day in a good way and ensure that you have a safe and trustworthy experience.
The equipment you need to get yourself might look like a lot, but this is usually items people will already have or could borrow from friends. You might have to buy some of it, but we will help you choosing the right equipment and all this will be discussed in detail with each and one of you. Then you should have a good set of usable equipment that you will be able to enjoy for many future trips as well.
The weight of the sled will depend on which trip you are going on as fuel and food adds up for each day with about 1,3 kilos. Some trips also require special equipment like climbing gear, polar bear protection, waterproof bags, etc. Sometimes we have to carry our stuff in backpacks to reach the glacier or good skiing ground, but we do not load to more than max 30 kilos, it is better to go two times.
On an average we can say that a sled weigh as follows:
- North Pole Last Degree 40 kg
- North Pole Full Length (with/without supplies) 75 kg /110 kilos
- South Pole Last Degree 40 kg
- Patagonia, Northern Icecap, 50 kg
- Greenland Spring 52 kg
- Greenland Fall 55 kg
- Svalbard – Nordaustlandet 40 kg
- Svalbard – Spisbergen crossing 40 kg
- Hardangervidda 25 Kg
- Finnmarksvidda 25 kg
- South Georgia 35 kg
To best prepare for pulling the sled and carrying in backpacks, refer to the training and preparations info. This topic will also be covered more into detail once you have signed up. If you are curious and want some more info either way, let us know.
We provide nutritious expedition food for each participant for all the days skiing. It will be enough calories for the trip, but if you feel like having some extra snacks, please feel free to bring it.
There will always be personal choices. We provide several types of freeze-dried dinners, and lunch with a mix of what you like best. Our selection of food to choose from is based on long experience where energy, taste and also preparation are key factors. We have limited time for breaks during the day, about 12-15 minutes at normally every 1,5 hours intervals.
Our normal day-to-day diet:
Børge’s homemade enriched oatmeal/porridge mix.
Choice of: Fruit soup or energy drink for hot water. Compressed biscuits rations and/or Flapjack (oatmeal cakes).
And/or potatochips, nuts and dried fruit.100-150 g chocolate per day. About 100 g piece of dried meat.
Choise of freeze dried dinners. Our partner for dinner is Real Turmat www.real.no. Instant soup, hot chocolate, coffee or tea as you wish.
All the food will be packed by you in daily rations and stored in bags provided by us prior to departure. There is always a day or so with packing and organizing before we start the trip. You will carry your own food and be responsible for it during the expedition.
Food- allergies or intolerances:
If you have any food- intolerances or allergies, we will together with you (and possibly with your doctor) advice the different ingredients you need to ensure the best nutrition but which is adapted to the diet you follow. You should test this beforehand to avoid any unpleasant surprises on the way.
If you need to be on a special diet, we recommend that you yourself prepare most of your food at home before we leave, so that you are sure to get what you need. It will in most cases be a possibility to ship the food to the destination beforehand together with the rest of the equipment.
Please let us know if you have special needs or concerns regarding food or nutrition, we will do our best to help.
Day by day
This is when our program starts and this is the latest day you can meet up in Longyearbyen. Our team will be there a few days in advance, and we highly recommend arriving before time to familiarize yourself and be rested for the big trip. The reason we have to show up early is that we need to prepare, pack sleds, food and go through the procedures and equipment. We will also do a thorough brief and go through all issues and questions regarding the trip.
If we need to stock up on anything, this is the day. There are great outdoor stores in Longyearbyen with no v.a.t. We finalize packing and preparing for both the team and for our selves.
In the afternoon all our equipment has to be checked in at the airport, weighed and stowed into the airplane.
From the morning we will be on ‘stand-by’. We will only be flying out if the pilots are sure that the weather will not be changing on our way further North. Sometimes these may be some exciting and long hours, where we try to relax in our hotel just waiting.
When the call comes, it’s all hands on deck and off to the airport! After the security check, we enter the Antonov 74 airplane; wait for the very last weather check-up – and off we go!
Two and a half hours later we will have flown over ice, ice and more ice, realizing this even is bigger than ever imagined. The runway comes into sight, then a few coloured spots, some bigger ones appearing to be tents, and we are touching ground – on the ice runway, in a huge plume of snow at Barneo, a floating Arctic Ice Camp situated at 89 degrees latitude.
What happens after arrival at Barneo depends on the weather and the availability of a helicopter. Usually we are greeted with a hot meal and a fascinating tour around the Barneo Base – but our aim is to get going as soon as possible. If all goes well, we fly out to our drop off point only hours after arriving. We need to fly into the starting position, as the Barneo icecamp is drifting with winds and currents and seldom are at 89 degrees sharp.
Packed into a cramped MI8 helicopter, we are flown to our carefully planned drop-off point. Where we start off, is crucial and needs to be well prepared, as we do not want to be struggling against the current and the wind.
As soon as the helicopter leaves, we are surrounded by a roaring silence.
It is stunning, it is wild, and so isolated that you will get goose bumps! This is a moment you will savour for the rest of your life.
We get on our skis headed northwards, or as close to due north as possible. The first day on the ice we familiarize to the challenge and settle into a good routine. We learn, adapt and adjust, in order to make our experience as good as possible.
The following days we ski ever closer to the North Pole. These will be long days, but we can ensure you that up here, time flies. To challenge the ice is like a huge game of chess – and we are up against Mother Earth herself. She is a cunning player and we might be set up by her many challenges along the way. It will be enjoyable, frustrating and rewarding. The evenings in our comfortable tent are social, with good food and chats. After long days of skiing and all these impressions, you will sleep like a baby.
The Geographical North Pole: It is impossible to foresee our exact day of arrival. On average the Last Degree requires seven days – sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. It all depends on ice conditions, weather and drift.
What we do know is that we have always succeeded in reaching our goal. The feeling of realizing you have succeeded and are standing on the northernmost point on top of the world is impossible to describe. It has to be shared and savoured – and we will.
As you will appreciate, it is difficult to predict exactly which day this will be, but usually we camp out on the North Pole itself to await the arrival of our helicopter. It may be half a day, perhaps two days, all depending on our timing before schedule or not.
When the helicopter arrives, we return to the Barneo Base to continue our celebration inside the comfort of heated tents. This is when you will be awarded the North Pole Diploma. Depending on our schedule we, might board a plane back to Longyearbyen the same day.
Back: Being back is like landing in the tropics. Life feels good. First we get all equipment out to get dry, then we waste no time in heading for the shower of our life. Again clean and refreshed, we hit the best restaurant in Longyearbyen for a bit of a celebration dinner – depending on what time we land, of course.
We do the last bit of personal packing and organizing, before our focus changes to the homeward journey. Family and friends will have followed your challenges and daily adventure on our expedition blog – but they will surely be eager to hear your own stories, and to see your photos and videos.
Takk for turen - Safe journey home!
The Last Degree trip offers a raw and unique experience. You are sure to return home with real stories to tell. In the course of two weeks you will be able to join this small and exclusive community of people who have reached the North Pole on skis.
Børge Ousland had his first acquaintance with the Arctic Ocean in 1990. In 1994 he started a project in cooperation with the Norwegian Polar Institute to measure the thickness of the ice and snow-cover on his way to the North Pole.
This project has now been extended to be a part of the Last Degree trips, as the scientists need data from the ground. Snow-cover depth in particular can provide valuable insight in understanding the effect of climate change in the Arctic. We take these measurements daily – quickly and efficiently – it will not slow us down or reduce our chances of reaching our goal. On the contrary, we believe that contributing to a greater understanding about our melting Arctic is an important and valuable contribution to our common future.
Training and preparing
Many wonder how to prepare physically for a polar expedition. This will vary from trip to trip and also for each individual. We will therefore provide individual training programs and advice for each participant if needed.
In general we expect people to carry a 20 kg backpack for 8 hours for several days on a row. That’s a physical exercise that is easy to measure, but actual training can and will consist of various methods.
Training and physical preparation for these trips typically consist of at least 3 training sessions a week for at least one hour each. Gradually this should be increased to 4 sessions a week, three months before departure, including one or two longer sessions lasting for more than two hours.
A combination of cycling, jogging, workout in the gym, walking with backpack or pulling rubber tyres is what we recommend. Its not where you do it that matters, but that you do it. Remember that a cycling session in the gym or a hard work out on the walking machine can be equally as efficient as a session outdoors.
There are two main issues with specific training. One is the physical shape needed to endure the trip you have signed up for and secondly to make your muscles, tendons and ligaments, basically the whole body, prepared for the load on the way. Not to forget the third reason, that physical training in general is very positive, something you will benefit from after the expedition as well. So, its only one thing to do when the goal is set, start training!
Note: Be careful in the beginning, start at a level you feel comfortable with and increase gradually. If you start out too hard you might experience overtraining and injuries. Consult a doctor or physician if you experience injuries. Don’t forget to stretch out well after each session. Eating well and healthy will also help preparing your body for the upcoming adventure. The trips are not super hard, but you will enjoy it more when you have done your homework and taken training and preparation serious.
As part of the preparations, we organize a weekend of training in Verdal, Norway late in late January or early February. The aim is to go through the basic skills for winter survival in order to be as well prepared as possible. We go through all the equipment and routines. During this training weekend we also get to know each other a bit beforehand, as becoming a team is an important part of the whole concept. We also open for one-on-one talks with those who would like to get some personal advise.
Joining the training weekend is free of charge.
We will cover most of the basic equipment, some food, tents etc, except personal equipment like clothes ski boots etc. This is also a great time to go to the sport shop, since some of the equipment needed for trips like this can be hard to find outside Norway. We can assist you with this as well.
You need to cover your flight tickets coming here, food and lodging before and after the training outdoors (if any, as the nights mainly will be spent in tents outdoors).
The training is voluntarily but highly recommended. This will help you and us to evaluate your assumptions and to put focus on the key points for further exercise and practice
More info on the training trip will be distributed when signing up for one of our trips.
We also do a extended training trip: The Finnmarksvidda Crossing
Every February for 5 days and 4 nights around the time of full-moon.
Finnmarksvidda is in Northern parts of Norway, above the Arctic Circle. This trip is a great way to train and learn the ropes of basic winter survival. It is a 5 day mini expedition that is relevant, cold and stunning as we very often have the Northern lights at night. Timed with the full February moon we normally have enough natural light for skiing as well.
The Finnmark trip is one of our regular trips (refer to the complete overview for all trips) but if you already are booked on any of our other trips, you will receive a discount.
Rates, dates and booking
The dates 2016:
Early-mid April departure from Longyearbyen. But you have to be in Longyearbyen at least three days before start of the trip, and have a margin of at least 2 days after, in case of delays.
2016 & 2017:
We are going back both in 2016 and 2017. There will be some changes to the dates and price compared to 2015. The program will basically stay the same.
Contact us for more details or if you have any questions, or complete the booking if you know which year you can go.
The Price & invoice for 2015 was:
- 33.000 EURO until the 5th of December
- 35.000 EURO from the 6th of December until the 31st of January
To be paid in full (minus the deposit) before the due date to ensure the price as listed. Refunding/pulling out clauses are dealt with in our Travel Conditions.
The planning and logistics to get the Barneo Ice station up and running for the weeks in April is main reason for the prices to rise throughout the pre-season. This is mainly due to the costs related to the planning which also rises the closer to April it gets as even more fuel, food, staff, flights etc needs to be arranged.
The price includes all lodging, food and transport as of leaving Longyearbyen until you return. Also included is camp-, navigation-, safety- and communication equipment, and specialised expedition equipment like sledges, harness, skis, poles, boots, socks, facemasks, mittens, sleeping bag, mattress etc.
The price do not include personal travel- and medical insurance, personal clothing and equipment (refer to the equipment list you will receive after your booking, flight tickets to/from Longyearbyen food and sleeps during the stay in Longyearbyen before your departure and on your return.
The Deposit: We will send you a Deposit Invoice of 5.000,- EUR approximately 6 months before departure or before if you book late. The system works as follows: Your Booking Form will give you a place in the ‘queue’. But it is not binding in any way. It only gets serious as you receive a Deposit Invoice. This is refundable according to our Travel Conditions. But this means you are in and the trip is on!
Booking - How to proceed
- If this is something for you, - send us the booking for your desired trip and your place is reserved. This will be kept for you until you have paid the deposit invoice. Then your place is guaranteed until the remaining amount is due.
- You will then receive our expedition-booklet that gives you more information about the trip, insurances, safety, personal training tips towards the trip, as well as info on the training in Oslo (for more info, refer to the training and preparations menu)
- We will also supply you with the complete equipmentlist and work with you to ensure that you know what is needed and included from both your- and our side.
- Personal information-form. By signing up on a trip, we need you to fill in a form for our records regarding health issues, your recent outdoor experiences- and background, passport- and insurance info as well as next-of-kin details.
- The invoice for the remaining amount will be sent to you about 3 months prior to departure (for some destinations the due-dates might be more than 90 days prior to departure. After full payment have been settled, you are guaranteed to get your place for your desired trip. You still have the right to cancel at this point, but depending on how close we are to the departure, some of our basic costs will have to be deducted from the deposit. (For more details on this refer to our terms & conditions)
Børge Ousland in cooperation with Dagens Næringsliv gives DN Aktivklubb members new opportunities. A Premium membership in the DN Aktivklubb now provides favourable conditions on three selected trips in Børge Ousland Polar Explorations program:
- North Pole Last Degree
- Greenland Spring – West to East
- Greenland crossing on dog sledges
- Nordaustlandet Crossing
For further information on the different trips, please refer to the menus for each destination on our web-page. If you want to learn more about the DN Aktivklubb, and how to become a premium member, click here
- Join us on a trip!
|Duration:||Approx. 10 days + 5 extra (preparations and delays)|
|Price:||37.500 € in 2016. Discount 2.000€ if booked and paid in full, by 5th December|
|Sheduled for:||2016, 2017|
|Participants:||Taking on bookings for 2017|