Travel to the North Pole with Quark Expeditions
How to Get to the North Pole
Located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, a visit to the North Pole will literally put you on top of the world. Whether you are visiting the geographic North Pole (i.e.the points at which all paths lead south, also know as "True North") or the magnetic North Pole (the point your compass points to), a trip there means a trip through a frozen wilderness. There are many options for trips to the pole during the spring months when the temperatures and darkness do not make it impossible, but the ice is still solid enough to walk on. This article provides an overview of the various possibilities you might consider for your arctic adventure.
Going by Air
Book your flight.The fastest and easiest way to get to the North Pole, if you can afford it, is to fly. Flights to the North Pole depart primarily from Norway, but chartered flights are also available from CanadaFill out the paperwork and book your tickets.
- To fly from Norway, you should expect to pay between ten and twelve thousand dollars. Visit the Polar Explorers website, open the "expeditions" tab and pick "North Pole Flights." The information and forms you need to register for the trips are all located on this page.
- Chartering a flight from Canada can cost as much as ten times as much as trip from Norway.For rates and booking, you'll need to contact Kenn Borek Air by phone, email, or fax. Contact information is available on their website.
- Because of the harsh conditions at the North Pole, booking a trip there will require you certify that you are in good health,, and also to purchase medical evacuation insurance.
- Other forms of insurance, such as trip-cancellation insurance are also recommended.
- If you just want to see the North Pole but don't feel strongly about actually standing on the spot, you can take a sight-seeing flight that will pass over the North Pole but will not actually stop there. This is a considerably cheaper option.Flights are available from Berlin, Germany, and start from about 0 dollars. These flights can be booked through the Air Events website.
Go to Canada or Norway.Flights to the North Pole from Norway depart from Longyearbyen, a village north of the Arctic circle.Kenn Borek Air, the company that books charter flights from Canada is located in Calgary, but flies out of several locations.Book a ticket from wherever you live to one of these places.
- Norwegian Airlines flies regularly to Longyearbyen from Oslo.You'll probably need to book two separate flights--one to Oslo from wherever you live, and then a second flight to Longyearbyen.
- You'll need to contact Kenn Borek Air to establish details as to where you'll fly out of.
Go to Barneo.Whether you are flying from Canada or Norway, your next stop will be Barneo, an ice-station about 60 miles from the North Pole.
- Accommodations and meals at Barneo are provided as part of many North Pole visit packages.
Ride a helicopter.From Barneo, you can take a helicopter to the North Pole.
- The helicopter ride is 20-40 minutes long, via an MI-8 helicopter that is stationed at Barneo.
- Polar Explorers will give you several opportunities to take pictures and typically provides a champagne toast to their North Pole travelers. However, because of the intensely cold temperatures at the pole, you'll only have about an hour to take it in before the helicopter takes you back to Barneo.
- Alternatively, you can ski in from Barneo, an adventure known as "skiing the last degree." Tour packages to do this with a trained guide will cost you roughtly ,000. You can also go by snowmobile or dogsled.
- The Polar Explorers website has information about the itinerary and cost for each of these options, as well as the application forms you'll need to fill out. Visit the North Pole Expeditions page and select the option you are interested in.
- If you're an athlete, you also have the option to participate in marathon that departs from Barneo in April. This will cost you roughly ,000 dollars, but includes a flight from Svalbard, Norway to Barneo (and back), as well as accommodations and a helicopter trip to the pole.Visit their website and fill out the online application to register for the race.
Going by Sea
Book your ticket.A second option for travel to the North Pole via a Russian "icebreaker," a large ship designed to sail through arctic ice.Book your ticket for one of these expeditions.
- You should expect to spend a minimum of about ,000 dollars for one of these cruises. Registering is easy: just visit the Adventure Life Website, select the "North Pole Ultimate Adventure" cruise, pick a departure date, and fill out the application.
- Adventure life has options ranging from a simple room with a twin bed to several luxury suites. Prices for suites range from ,000 to ,000 for these luxury accommodations.
Go to Finland.Expeditions aboard icebreaker ships typically depart from Helsinki, Finland.Book a ticket to Helsinki from wherever you live. Numerous major airports offer flights to Helsinki. You can also take a train there from many European destinations.
Fly to Russia.From Helsinki, you'll take a charter plane to Murmansk, Russia. It is from here that the ship will actually depart.
- This flight is included in the travel package.
Sail to the North Pole.The icebreaker ship, which includes luxury accommodations, will sail from Murmansk.
- Expect to spend between five and eight days on board the ship as it travels through the Arctic Ocean to the North Pole.
- The 50 Years of Victory (the ship that sails to the North Pole) has a variety of amenities to keep you busy during the voyage, including a swimming pool and a bar.
Book a guide or enter a race.You can also visit the North Pole by traveling overland from Russia or Canada, typically by skiing, dragging a sled called a "pulk," and camping on the ice. You can do this either by booking a private guide or entering a race.
- There are several organized races to the North Pole, including the Polar Challenge and the North Pole Race, which take you 300 miles (480 km) over the ice to the magnetic north pole.Starting in 2019, the Ice Race will provide a similarly grueling overland trip.
- Expect to spend roughly ,000 dollars to participate in one of these expeditions. The cost includes training, flights, equipment, food, and insurance.
- Because these races are only open to a relatively small number of people, you'll have to contact the organizers for more information about registration, cost, etc. The Ice Race has an online form you can fill out, or you can email the organizer.
- Note that these races take you to the magnetic North Pole (the point the compass points to), rather than the geographical "True North" North Pole.
- Private guides can also be hired for an even longer trip from Russia or Canada. This 500 mile trek is known as a "full distance" North Pole expedition.These expeditions typically depart in February.
- The full distance trip is by far the most extreme and costly option, and is only open to those with the funds and experience to make the trek. You'll need to contact the company providing guides for pricing.
- Adventure Consultants, one company that offers guides for full distance journeys, has a booking form on their website that you can fill out if you are serious about one of these trips.After you fill it out, they'll contact you to let you know whether you are eligible and if they can accommodate your adventure.
- To even consider one of these overland trips, you should be in excellent health and must be able to certify that this is the case. Additionally, some guides for full distance trips require climbing experience and in some cases even prior experience with an ice axe and crampons.
Fly to Russia or Canada.Book a ticket to your starting point for your race or expedition.
- Organized races typically start from Resolute Bay in the northern Canadian region of Nunavut.Regularly scheduled flights from major Canadian cities such as Ottawa and Montreal are available through the First Air, Calm Air, and Canadian North airlines.
- Full distance trips typically leave from Cape Arktichevsky, Russsia, or Ward Hunt Island, Canada. To reach either of these locations, you normally have to charter a private flight, which can be extremely costly.If you take one of these trips through Adventure Consultants, however, they will organize a flight to Ward Hunt Island from Resolute Bay.
Ski north.Head north with your expedition until you reach the pole. These overland trips are grueling. You and your team or guide will spend 8-10 hours each day skiing over snow and ice.
- This journey is treacherous, and will require you to navigate over pressure ridges, search for routes around areas where the ice has melted, and camp on pans of ice.
- At night, you'll take part in cooking dinner, and set up camp by building snow walls to block the wind. Temperatures can be as low as -40 degrees.
- If you are going with one of the race groups, expect to spend about four weeks on the ice.
- If you are going on a full distance trip, you should expect to spend roughly 60 days.
- Some of the races and some private guides also have options for shorter trips that begin closer to the pole and only take about two weeks.If you can't commit to a month or more on the ice, it may be worth considering one of these options.
- Upon reaching the pole, you'll either camp there for the night, or be picked up by a helicopter and taken to Barneo ice station to spend the night, depending on conditions.The next day, you'll enjoy a hot meal at Barneo before flying back to civilization.
How long does it take to get to the arctic
Can I ski to the north pole from Canada without a guide?
What is the best way to get to the Arctic Ocean?
To get to the North Pole quickly, book a flight with Norwegian Airlines from your location to Oslo, Norway and then another flight from Oslo to Longyearbyen. From Longyearbyen, you can charter a flight to Barneo, an ice station about 60 miles from the North Pole. Once there, you can charter a helicopter to make the 20-40 minute flight to the North Pole. When you finally reach the North Pole, you can take pictures and explore the area for about an hour before the helicopter takes you back to Barneo!
- The North Pole is very, very cold. If you aren't going on a trip that provides outewear, bring all your warmest clothes: heavy coats, earmuffs, boots, warm pants, gloves, a hat and a scarf. If you don't already have garments designed for extreme cold, you will need to invest in some.
- Specifically, the companies the take groups to the North Pole overland provide fleece clothing with windproof shells, as well as warm mittens, hats, and a facemask. If garments aren't provided for your journey, you will want to invest in similar cold-weather clothing.
- If you are not experienced with traveling in arctic conditions, consider one of the less challenging options for your visit to the pole.
- Temperatures in the arctic are cold enough to kill you quickly if you aren't prepared to deal with them. Other hazards like polar bear attacks are also a real danger. If you are not prepared to deal with these risks, stay away from any of the overland options.
Sources and Citations
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