Out into the Cold: The Ultimate Polar Adventures

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A trip to the Arctic or Antarctic is a very special experience—quite literally an odyssey to the ends of the earth. These are regions where, given the extremes of the climate and the vast distances between settlements, everyday life is an adventure in itself. And nowhere else can you escape into a world so untouched by human hands, where the great creatures of the wild still roam free. For those who seek a land untamed, where true exploration and discovery are still possible, the Arctic and Antarctica are unsurpassed.

Here, then, is the list of the very best in polar adventures.
North Pole: Journey to the Top of the World
Getting to the North Pole is itself an adventure. If you prefer the brute force approach, cruise up on a nuclear-powered, 75,000-horsepower Russian icebreaker, or take an aerial tour of the pole for a mere $10,000, hopping along as you go along some of the most spectacular scenery in the Arctic.

The South Pole: Overland by Ski and Snowmobile
The first commercial expedition of the South Pole was completed in 1988 after crossing 750 miles of Antarctic wilderness on skis. Options these days are more reasonable: fly to the geographic Pole and then ride out on airlifted snowmobiles back to the base camp. Stop there, or brave ahead, skiing across the Ross Ice Shelf to Cape Evans—but be prepared, the latter journey may take a full month and costs close to $100,000. Other base camp operations offer less-costly and time-consuming options but still allow for skiing, trekking, and ample wildlife observation.

Mountaineering in Antarctica
Vinson Massif, the tallest of Antarctica's Seven Summits, remains one of the world's ultimate climbing destinations. It is estimated that fewer than 130 people have reached the top. And if conquering Mt. Vinson is not glory enough, Antarctica has several other virgin (and nearly virgin) peaks in the Ellesworth Range, including the 13,000-foot Mt. Jackson and the 15,895-foot Mt. Tyree, the second-tallest peak in Antarctica.

Published: 12 Dec 2000 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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