Inspiring Explorers Expedition™ 2022 – South Pole

Celebrating Amundsen’s 150th

credit: Antarctic Heritage Trust

Applications are now closed

Connecting young people with the spirit of exploration

To celebrate 150 years since the birth of legendary polar explorer Roald Amundsen, Antarctic Heritage Trust is looking for three Inspiring Explorers™ ideally aged under 35 to join a guided Kiwi-Norwegian expedition team on the expedition of a lifetime. The team will traverse close to 1000km from the Ronne Ice Shelf to the South Pole, a route inspired by Reinhold Messner and Arved Fuchs’ Antarctic crossing.

Successful applicants will embody an explorer mindset, demonstrating curiosity, resilience, leadership, innovation, and team work.

If successful you will:
  • Travel by ski for 7-10 hours a day, pulling a sled weighing 60-80 kg, in sub-zero temperatures for 40+ days, reaching almost 2,800m in elevation
  • Experience all types of weather enroute to the Pole, facing constant winds, fields of sastrugi, and white-out conditions. The rewards for your effort are tangible as you reach the Geographic South Pole and follow in the footsteps of Antarctica’s great explorers
  • Have a desire to head into the unknown and will embrace the same spirit of exploration embodied by the legendary figures of heroic-era Antarctic exploration – Roald Amundsen, Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton, and Carsten Borchgrevink whose legacy we care for.

If you have the skills, fitness, and determination to be part of a successful team we want to hear from you.

Left: Roald Amundsen, Nome, Alaska 1923. © Norsk Polarinstitutt. Right: Amundsen, Hanssen, Hassel, and Wisting at the South Pole in 1911 (image cropped). © Norsk Polarinstitutt.

Applications are now closed

What does the expedition involve?

Antarctic Heritage Trust is offering three inspiring young people from New Zealand and/or Norway the chance to join this guided expedition to ski to the Geographic South Pole in late 2022 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of legendary polar explorer Roald Amundsen’s birth, the first to reach the South Pole. Antarctic Heritage Trust is the agency that cares for the legacy of Antarctica’s first explorers.

Led by the vastly experienced Norwegian polar guide Bengt Rotmo (Ousland Expeditions), and Antarctic Heritage Trust Executive Director Nigel Watson, the team will traverse close to 1000km from the Ronne Ice Shelf to the South Pole, a route inspired by Reinhold Messner and Arved Fuchs’ 1989 Antarctic crossing.

Organised by Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE) and Ousland Expeditions (OE), the expedition will run from early November 2022 to early January 2023.

With temperatures ranging from -25°C to -40°C, the team will experience all types of weather and reach elevations of 2,800m skiing for up to 10 hours per day for over 40 days, each pulling a 60-80kg sled. In order to achieve this extremely strenuous trip, participants will need skiing, mountaineering or cold weather camping experience and the mental stamina to continue in extreme conditions when physically tried. Experience, a determined positive mindset, and adequate training will contribute to the overall enjoyment and wellbeing of the whole team. Technical skill, a high level of strength and aerobic fitness and a commitment to undertake rigorous daily training for several months leading up to the expedition will be required.

The team will fly to Punta Arenas, Chile and spend five days preparing food and equipment and preparing. An ALE flight will then take the team to Union Glacier in Antarctica where a further few days will be spent testing clothing and equipment.

Once the sleds are packed and the team is ready for departure, an ALE flight will drop them at the Messner Start. The team will commence the 40+ day journey skirting the western flank of the massive Fountain Ice Stream and the Transantarctic Mountains, before turning toward the final goal, the South Pole. Climbing gradually from sea level to 2,800m, the effects of altitude will be prominent. Wind, cold and white-out conditions will be constant, challenging the body, mind and spirit.

In the words of Amundsen:

“Shining white, glowing blue, black crevices lit up by the sun; this land looks like a fairy tale”.

On reaching the South Pole, the team will celebrate completing one of the most challenging expeditions imaginable, embracing the spirit of Amundsen and the early explorers whose inspiring legacy the Antarctic Heritage Trust cares for.

Unloading equipment from ALE Twin Otter at Messner Start © ALE/Carl Alvey
Skier hauls a sled on the Messner route to the South Pole © ALE/Carl Alvey
Inspiring Explorers Expedition™ - Greenland Ice Cap 2018

Why are we undertaking this expedition?

Antarctic Heritage Trust’s vision is Inspiring Explorers. We conserve, share and encourage the spirit of exploration. Caring for the Antarctic legacy of the first explorers, we also connect young people with the timeless spirit of exploration. We provide opportunities for young inspiring people to explore the world, and test their comfort zones.

The Trust’s Inspiring Explorers™ programme changes participants’ lives for the better. It creates a platform for participants to share inspiring stories and experiences with their communities and to a global audience through the Trust’s channels and their own community outreach. The ripple effect goes deep into Inspiring Explorers’ communities, encouraging others to explore.

This once in a lifetime trip will offer people a chance to challenge themselves in the world’s most extreme environment under the guidance of expert Norwegian guide Bengt Rotmo (Ousland Expeditions), and New Zealand explorer and Antarctic Heritage Trust Executive Director, Nigel Watson.

Participants will embrace the same spirit of exploration as the early polar explorers on their own remarkable journey to celebrate 150 years since the birth of legendary polar explorer Roald Amundsen.

A key output from the expedition will be a documentary. One participant will need to be a skilled camera person, eager to take on the task of filming in this incredibly challenging environment.

Who should apply?

Inspiring Explorers must:

  • Ideally be 35 or under at the date of applying
  • Be a citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand or Norway
  • Be fluent in the English language
  • Be willing to be part of a film documenting the expedition
  • Have a track record of successful expedition filming if applying for the dedicated filmmaker role
  • Be in excellent health with a very high level of fitness, stamina, and resilience.
  • Be comfortable as part of a small team led by a professional guide
  • Have skiing, mountaineering, glacier travel or cold weather/altitude camping experience (or be so compelling in your other endurance achievements that you are impossible to ignore)
  • Be determined and have a positive mindset
  • Have the desire and ability to inspire others
  • Be excited to share your experience with the public and media.

The top traits we are looking for include:

  • An adventurous spirit
  • Team player
  • Curiosity
  • Desire to share your experience to inspire others
  • Resilience
  • Positive attitude
  • A sense of humour.

The team will succeed or fail as one, so it is critical that you are committed to the shared team goal of reaching the Pole together. As an Inspiring Explorer™ you will need to:

  • Be prepared to travel to Christchurch as part of the selection process (for New Zealand based applicants)
  • Be prepared to commit to an extensive self-motivated training programme over the next 5 months
  • Undertake a team skill building session in New Zealand or Norway during the New Zealand winter 2022 (at the Trust’s cost)
  • Make a personal financial contribution of NZD$10,000 towards the significant cost to deliver this expedition, with NZD$2,000 to be paid immediately upon acceptance. This is a signal of your desire to invest your time, energy and commitment to the success of this expedition.
  • Participate in the expedition clean of any sponsorships, or other commercial arrangements.
  • Use the clothing and personal gear supplied for the expedition (at the Trust’s cost or by the Trust’s sponsors) and return supplied clothing and personal gear to the Trust at completion of the expedition. Alternate individual items of gear may be swapped out if approved by the lead guide and the Trust.

Other requirements

You will need to:

  • Be fully vaccinated for Covid-19, and ensure you keep your vaccination status current. You will be willing to comply with all vaccine and testing requirements for international travel.
  • Provide a negative Covid-19 test result before and during travel, and comply with ALE’s Covid-19 testing regime and requirements for Antarctica, and into the field.
  • Purchase appropriate medical (including Covid-19 coverage), evacuation, and travel insurance at your own cost
  • Comply with all requirements from ALE in respect of travelling with them, including any necessary visas for travel to New Zealand, Chile, and Antarctica.
  • Share all digital imagery and footage captured during the team skill building event, and the expedition, with the Trust without cost or restriction.
  • Take part in outreach and engagement activities on your return from the expedition.
  • Sign an agreement acknowledging and agreeing to all the requirements set out by the Trust.

Applications are now closed

Please contact us if you have any questions or require assistance.

Jessica Hughes Hutton
P: 021 268 4144
Antarctic Heritage Trust
Private Bag 4745
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

What are Inspiring Explorers’ Expeditions?

The Trust’s Inspiring Explorers’ Expeditions™ provide opportunities for young people to experience the world’s polar regions. These expeditions engage people with the legacy and spirit of exploration, inspiring a new generation of explorers. As part of this social contract, we expect Inspiring Explorers™ to connect with, engage and inspire their communities by sharing the incredible experiences they are privileged to have through their participation in the programme. They also become part of the Trust’s valued alumni.

Previous Inspiring Explorers Expeditions™

Follow a manual added linkFollow a manual added linkLink to: Antarctic Peninsula 2019
Link to: Greenland Ice CapLink to: Climbing Mount Scott, Antarctic PeninsulaLink to: Crossing South Georgia
Inspiring Explorers Expedition™ - Greenland Ice Cap 2018

The Fine Print

The Antarctic Heritage Trust (“Trust”) reserves the right to cancel or defer the expedition, alter the expedition route or objective in consultation with its partners delivering the expedition or not take a participant(s) for any reason and without recourse, including circumstances beyond the Trust’s control. In that unlikely event, the Trust will only be responsible for refunding the expedition contribution (if paid) incurred by a participant(s) at the time of written notification provided by the Trust. If a selected Inspiring Explorer is unable or unwilling for any reason to partake in the expedition the Trust will endeavour to find a replacement but will not guarantee refund of the participant’s contribution. The Trust’s decision to decline any participation in the expedition shall be in their sole and absolute discretion.

Antarctic Logistics Expeditions (“ALE”) and Ousland Expeditions (“OE”) each independently reserve the right to decline a selected team member’s participation if they determine that it would not be safe or prudent. ALE’s or OE’s decision to decline any participation in the expedition shall be in their sole and absolute discretion.

During the expedition the OE guide in consultation with ALE has the final say including whether to proceed, retreat, medivac, alter the objective or require an early pick up for the team or a member(s). That decision is final and shall be in their sole and absolute discretion.

ALE will require all participants to undertake and return negative Covid-19 tests in accordance with their testing regime to fly to Antarctica and to leave their camp in Antarctica. The Trust requires all participants to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and comply with all vaccine and testing requirements for international travel.

ALE reserves the right to cancel the expedition prior to the scheduled date of departure for any reason whatsoever, including participants not being suitable or logistical problems caused by pandemics, strikes, acts of terrorism, wars, acts of God, or any other circumstances beyond ALE’s control which may make operation of the trip inadvisable. The decision to cancel the expedition is within the sole and absolute discretion of ALE.

ALE reserves the right to change or delay the expedition itinerary or route as they so determine. While every effort will be made to adhere to the planned expedition itinerary, it must be realised that for this type of adventurous travel to inhospitable regions impacted by severe and unpredictable weather, changes to the itinerary may occur, for which ALE accepts no responsibility, however caused and for whatever reason.

The expedition will only proceed with the appropriate environmental permit/approvals for the activity in Antarctica issued by a competent authority under the Antarctic Treaty system.