Off The Beaten Path: Cold Weather Camping in Antarctica

Taylor Stephan | | Industry NewsIndustry News

Union Glacier Camp, owned and operated by Antarctic Expeditions & Logistics (ALE) is literally one of a kind. Located in Antarctica, 600 miles from the South Pole, Union Glacier Camp is the only facility of its kind on the continent. The facility hosts a naturally occurring blue-ice runway and is only accessible by air, with flights departing from Punta Arenas, Chile nearly 1,900 miles away.

Union Glacier Camp, Antarctica,
Flight route from Punta Arenas, Chile to Union Glacier Camp. Photo Credit: Stanford

The facility is a combination logistics hub, research center, and camping facility tucked away in the remote Ellsworth Mountains of Western Antarctica. The camping portion is available for a limited number of guests during the Antarctic Summer, usually between the months of November and January. Sitting at 2,300 feet above sea level, the climate at the facility tends to be cool, dry, and windy. During the Antarctic Summer, the sun is up 24 hours a day and temperatures can change rapidly, ranging from -12 degrees to 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

While at the facility, an entire crew of dedicated employees makes sure you are well taken care of. Besides other guests, the facility hosts a chef, medic, research scientists, meteorologists, pilots, and more. During the day (weather dependent), you can hike, cross country ski, fat bike, or simply relax and take in the remote Antarctic landscape.

I’ve been snowed on while camping in May in Mammoth Lakes, CA, but Antarctica is a whole other ballgame. This is definitely not for the faint of heart, but with such a dedicated team at your fingertips, Union Glacier Camp is the place to be in Antarctica.


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