Summary : The pinnacle of this three-day expedition is spending one night at 89° north at Barneo Ice Camp. This seasonal, fly-in base camp is truly a unique North Pole experience and ideal for those seeking a short, but adventurous journey to the top of the world. You’ll be one of a limited group to land on a runway made of ice, and take up temporary residence at this unequalled base camp on the frozen Arctic Ocean. Established each year to be a functioning Russian science and logistics station, the site is operated by the Expeditionary Center for the Russian Geographical Society. Among your fellow guests and base staff, you may meet scientists, pilots, mechanics, engineers, and explorers. This expedition offers a fully-guided opportunity to achieve the North Pole by helicopter!
Activities : Birding
Upon arrival in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, you will be met at the airport by a member of the expedition team. After settling in to your included hotel, there will be a briefing about Barneo Ice Camp. You will be updated on current camp conditions, expedition details, and your departure the following day to 89° North. This evening your group will get together for a welcome dinner.
Accompanied by a member of the Expeditions team, transfer to the airport and board the special Antonov AN-74 aircraft for the approximately 2.5 hour flight to Barneo. One of the unique thrills of this expedition is landing on the ice runway at Barneo, a seasonal air strip constructed on the polar ice cap each year, and the only facility that allows external access to the base. Shortly after arriving at camp, have lunch and an introductory briefing will be conducted. Barneo is a functioning research base for scientists and adventurers from around the world, and it’s always a hive of activity.
After lunch, it’s destination – North Pole! The excitement mounts as you prepare for your Mi8 helicopter flight to the northernmost point on earth. Here there is only ice, and the Arctic Ocean is approximately 2.5 miles (4 km) deep at this point. Weather conditions are closely monitored, and the flight will be scheduled accordingly. Aim to land at 90° north. Once there, savor the moment and pose for pictures taking it all in. You’ll spend about an hour here – walking, celebrating, and capturing those moments on camera – before the approx. 30-minute helicopter flight back to camp.
Tonight, following dinner, rest up in your heated tent. Each co-ed tent houses 10-12 guests and is equipped with camp beds.
After breakfast, you’ll have some time to wander around the camp and take in the last moments of your pristine surroundings before you bid farewell to Barneo Ice Camp and return to Longyearbyen.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact program varies according to weather conditions—and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
Due to the remoteness of the areas in this itinerary, travelers are to carry a minimum of $50,000 of emergency medical coverage. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. All guests are strongly recommended to have comprehensive travel insurance coverage. The shipping company will not be held responsible for delays due to force majeure. Any additional costs accrued will be the responsibility of the traveler. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends that the travel insurance policy covers trip cancellation insurance, trip delay (interruption or after departure coverage), baggage and repatriation. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.
Contingency Plan for North Pole Express – Barneo Ice Camp:
If the plane is unable to depart Longyearbyen on the planned date of the flight to Barneo Ice Camp, any additional nights’ hotel accommodations will be your responsibility. You may be required to be on standby and remain close to the hotel, as a weather window may open with very little notice. It is unlikely the expedition would be cancelled, but it is possible that weather could delay departure for a number of days. Consider purchasing flexible, changeable airline tickets, or booking a one-way flight home after completing the expedition, to help reduce ticket change fees. These delays may not be covered by travel insurance.
One night hotel accommodation based on double occupancy with breakfast in Longyearbyen; welcome dinner in Longyearbyen; transfers and flights per the daily program; shared tent accommodation at Barneo Ice Camp; group helicopter excursion to the North Pole (weather dependent); all breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks at Barneo Ice Camp; coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock at Barneo; miscellaneous service taxes; Emergency Evacuation Insurance to a maximum benefit of $500,000 per person*. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; meals unless otherwise specified; baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance; excess baggage charges; laundry, bar and other personal charges; phone and internet charges (available at Longyearbyen only); additional overnight accommodation; additional expenses (meals, accommodation, international flight change fees, etc.) incurred by delay or cancellation of activities due to sub-optimal weather.
*Emergency Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $500,000 is included in the cost of this expedition. Included coverage is applicable only while traveling with the shipping company between the first and last day of the expedition. Additional days of travel prior to the expedition and/or after the expedition, including pre- and post-packages/hotels/flights, purchased from the shipping company or from suppliers other than the shipping company, are not covered by the included emergency evacuation insurance. We strongly advise all passengers to purchase medical, cancellation and baggage insurance, and additional emergency evacuation coverage.