Shackleton Finse Polar Challenge

OVERVIEW

Challenge yourself on this seven-day expedition in Finse, Norway, led by record-breaking polar explorer and former SAS soldier Louis Rudd MBE. The Finse Polar Challenge is designed to build mental and physical endurance in a hugely demanding and unpredictable environment. The mission is to ski approximately 80km from Ustaoset to Finse, hauling pulks with everything you need to survive in an extreme cold-weather environment. The route will take you over some of the most challenging terrain in Norway and include a crossing of the Hardangerjokulen Glacier.

QUEST DATE

04 - 10 April 2021

WHO IS THIS FOR?

The Finse Polar Challenge is physically and mentally demanding. You’ll need a good level of fitness and experience of ski touring – you will be skiing for 8-10 hours a day on undulating terrain and camping out in the elements in sub-zero temperatures for four nights. A passion for adventure is essential.

Day One

Upon arriving in Oslo, you will board the Oslo-to-Bergen snow train, famed as one of the most scenic rail journeys in Europe*. You will disembark at Finse, the highest point on the line (1222m). The iconic Finse hotel is located on the platform and can only be reached by train or snowmobile/ski – there is no road access, even in the summer months. You will be met by the Shackleton Expedition Team and shown to your rooms, followed by a three-course dinner and drinks.

After dinner there will be a fireside welcome brief outlining the plan for the week, weather update and you’ll have the opportunity to ask any questions.

*If you would like to discuss other transport options, speak to a member of the Shackleton team.

Day two

Following breakfast at 8am, you will collect specialist polar expedition skis, boots and poles. You’ll spend the remainder of the morning preparing your expedition gear. With the pulks loaded we will board the snow train to Ustaoset to begin our journey.

You will be hauling your own pulk containing everything you need to thrive and survive in a polar environment. You will take turns to lead and navigate as we depart Ustaoset and head for the mountains in the distance. After a day of challenging skiing we will select a camp site and pitch our expedition tents in the snow. Cookers will be used to melt the snow to prepare our food and hot drinks. After a well-deserved hot meal it will be time to bed down for a good night’s rest. 

Day three

Breakfast will be prepared at sunrise and, once ready, camp will be collapsed as we prepare for our second full day on the move. We will tackle challenging undulating terrain while hauling our pulks through the Hardangervidda National Park. Throughout the day you will be responsible for navigating and keeping the team together under the guidance of the Shackleton leaders. The route will take us past Haugastol and then south west into the mountains, far from any signs of civilisation.  

Day four

The day will be peppered with steep climbs and challenging descents as we work our way southwest via a network of frozen lakes and valleys. We will have an eye on the mighty Hardangerjokulen Glacier in the distance as we inch our way ever closer. We will aim to push hard and cover some good mileage, finishing the day in close proximity to our goal. 

Day five

On our penultimate day (conditions allowing), we ascend onto the legendary Hardangerjokulen Glacier. We start the day with a steep climb up to an altitude of 1800m above sea level, but then we will be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding area. Once on the plateau of the glacier you will see the similarities with Antarctica – it is the reason Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton chose to train in this area as part of their preparations for their historic journeys. We will explore the plateau area and camp on the northern side.

Day six

We’ll start the day with a challenging steep descent off the glacier. We then aim for the vast frozen lake, Finsevatnet, with the hotel coming into view on the far side. 

After a shower, you and the team with enjoy a celebratory dinner – a great way to round off the experience. 

Day seven

After a leisurely breakfast you will board the snow train for Oslo.

WHAT TO EXPECT

  • Temperatures ranging from -5ºC to -20ºC. Weather can vary greatly, from bright sunshine and stunning views to gale-force winds and zero visibility. Windchill can drive the temperature down to -25ºC. 
  • Challenging undulating mountainous terrain with steep climbs and tricky descents. 
  • Snow conditions can vary from hard pack to deep soft snow that will hamper progress. Some open water leads may be visible .
  • We plan to ski for up to 10 hours a day looking to cover 15-20km depending on conditions.

The rate of a place on the Finse Polar Challenge is £4250 per person (limited to only six participants).

INCLUDED

  • Shackleton expedition-grade parka and shell jacket (RRP £1895)
  • Return train from Oslo to Finse
  • Two nights at Finse 1222 Hotel
  • All meals in the hotel and on expedition
  • Equipment hire: skis, boots, pulks and camping gear
  • Five-day expedition
  • Two professional guides (3:1 ratio with participants) 

NOT INCLUDED

  • International flights to and from Oslo
  • Extra beverages and snacks in Finse 1222 Hotel
  • Personal clothing and equipment on kit list
  • Personal travel insurance

Louis Rudd MBE is a record-breaking polar adventurer, former Royal Marine Commando and SAS soldier. He is the first and only person to have traversed Antarctica twice using human power alone and has reached the South Pole three times from different coastal start points.

Rudd has covered more than 3000 polar miles on skis, with multiple extreme cold-weather tours in Northern Norway with the Special Forces. He has guided expeditions on a 1100-mile crossing of Antarctica and a 350-mile crossing of Greenland. He is also a military Arctic warfare instructor, a military ski instructor, a qualified Army patrol medic, and a military snowmobile instructor, with additional training in crevasse and avalanche rescue.

RATES

Published rates are quoted in GBP and are based on single room occupancy on hotel nights. Expedition tent nights are based on 4 people sharing (3 x guests, 1 x guide per tent).

Doubles/twins are available with a 5% discount per person.

Payment schedule:

  • 10% non-refundable deposit is required on booking.*
  • 40% is payable 6 months before commencement.
  • Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure.
  • Inside 90 days of departure, full payment is required to confirm a booking.

*Due to the impact of Covid-19 on booking flights, the initial 10% booking deposit will be returnable up to 1st September 2020.

CANCELLATIONS & PAYMENTS

All cancellations must be received in writing. Reservations cancelled more than 90 days to departure are subject to a £500 per person cancellation fee. Reservations cancelled 90 days or less prior to departure are subject to full fee forfeiture. In cases where payment is late, we reserve the right to treat the booking as cancelled by you. 

ELIGIBILITY

In general there are no specific physical requirements for travel on a Shackleton Quest. A good level of physical fitness is required for all Quests and guests will be expected to be adequately prepared for more challenging activities. Guests with unstable medical/health issues may not be appropriate for this type of expedition and are advised to exercise appropriate caution. Children under 18 and pregnant women are not eligible to attend.

MEDICAL INFORMATION

We require all participants to submit basic medical information prior to departure. Upon receipt of that basic medical information, significant disabilities or unstable medical conditions may necessitate additional documentation from a guest’s physician certifying fitness to travel and participate. If additional medical confirmation is requested, participation will not be allowed absent receipt of that confirmation.

NOTE: Please review our medical form at time of booking, and if there is any question regarding your eligibility contact us immediately. While we cannot dispense medical advice, we reserve the right to deny participation to anyone whose individual situation is deemed to be a safety risk, or who has not disclosed accurate information as to their physical or mental condition. In such a case Shackleton cannot be responsible for any expenses incurred. This includes non-refundable fees, airfares or any other miscellaneous expenses. If you have any questions, please contact us for further clarification.

INSURANCE

All passengers must carry a Travel Insurance Plan. This plan must cover personal injury, medical expenses, repatriation expenses, evacuation expenses, and pre-existing medical conditions. Additionally, participants are strongly advised to carry a Comprehensive Travel Insurance Plan which should also include coverage for cancellation, curtailment, trip interruption, and all other expenses which might arise as a result of loss, damage, injury, delay or inconvenience occurring to or otherwise involving a guest.

ITINERARIES

The Shackleton Expedition Leader will do everything possible to complete the Quest as outlined in the itinerary. However, itineraries in polar regions are heavily dependent on weather conditions. Occasionally conditions or safety concerns require itinerary changes. The Expedition Team will make every effort to find the best alternative to the original itinerary while keeping guests informed and updated. Itinerary changes are not subject to guest approval/consent, and in the event of such a change no refunds or price adjustments are possible. Placement of a booking with Shackleton Quests amounts to an acknowledgement that itinerary changes are possible.

CANCELLATION

In the unlikely event that an expedition is cancelled by Shackleton Quests prior to commencement, guests will be offered preferential booking on alternative Quests of similar itinerary based on availability. Should re-booking not be possible, Shackleton Quests will provide a full refund of funds paid to Shackleton. Please note that Shackleton Quests will not be responsible for travel arrangements or other expenses outside the cost of the Quest.

ACTIVITIES

All activities on land or water conducted during a Shackleton Quest are permitted by local authorities and must comply with strict guidelines and regulations. As such, no one may conduct unauthorised activities during a Shackleton Quest. The use of personal recreation equipment or technologies without clear prior consent is not allowed.

LANGUAGE

All Quests are conducted in English as the principal language.

AUTHORITY

All participants are subject to instructions or regulations given by the Expedition Team. 

PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEO

Shackleton reserves the right to use photographs and/or videos taken during the operation of the voyage for promotional purposes for the company and/or its sales agents. Guests who prefer that their images not be used are asked to identify themselves to Shackleton prior to travel.

RESPONSIBILITY

Shackleton may provide services in conjunction with local operators. Shackleton and its designated service providers shall not be held liable for (A) any damage to, or loss of, property or injury to, or death of, persons occasioned directly or indirectly by an act or omission of any other provider, including but not limited to any defect in any vehicle or equipment operated or provided by such other provider; and (B) any loss or damage due to delay, cancellation, or disruption in any manner caused by the laws, regulations, acts or failures to act, demands, orders, or interpositions of any government or any subdivision or agent thereof, or by acts of God, strikes, fire, flood, war, rebellion, terrorism, insurrection, sickness, quarantine, epidemics, theft, or any other cause(s) beyond their control. The participant waives any claim against Shackleton for any such loss, damage, injury, or death.

By accepting passage on a Shackleton Quest, the participant acknowledges these terms and conditions and certifies that he/she does not have any mental, physical, or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other participants. Shackleton reserves the right in their sole discretion to accept, decline to accept, or remove any participant from a Quest.

Shackleton reserves the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of participants. The Expedition Leader has the right to restrict the activities of any passenger who repeatedly violates protocols.

Shackleton shall not be liable for any air carrier’s cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a non-refundable ticket to or from the participant’s departure city. Baggage and personal effects are at all times the sole responsibility of the participant.

Updated May, 2020. Terms & Conditions subject to change.