10. Is a cruise to the South Pole REALLY possible today?

A luxury cruise to the South Pole? It’s now possible as new technology opens up this land to – well, actually – all sorts of ‘problems’. It seems that anywhere that mankind goes we manage to leave a mess behind. Will we see the same thing in Antarctica?
The most pristine environment left on this planet is seeing that condition threatened because of these new capabilities.

But, on a brighter note, we are learning to censor ourselves – at least in some areas. Antarctica already has a number of laws and expectations in place to keep it pristine, until something like what happens in South Pole Vendetta changes it all.

Dog sled races, extreme sports, mountain climbing, and rock climbing are all becoming available as technology makes it possible to actually survive at seventy degrees below zero.

From the new arctic material – polartec (http://www.polartec.com/shelter/polartec-neoshell), to northwinds’ arctic clothing list, the possibility of exploring the South Pole is easier than ever. Northwinds’ recommends the following:

Developing Your Arctic Clothing System:
If you are heading off on a polar expedition within the next two years, we strongly recommend that you put together and test your own clothing and sleeping system.

Your Arctic clothing must work as a system that wicks away perspiration, insulates you from the cold and protects you from the wind. The most versatile system is made up of layers. This allows you to easily adjust to changes in the weather and changes in your heat output.

-The first layer is worn next to your skin. This layer must wick perspiration away from your skin to keep you dry and warm: capilene polyester is excellent, untreated polyester, wick-able polyesters (polypropylene) and the new smart wool are also good. No cotton, as it has poor wicking properties.

-The second layer (or layers) provides insulation. This layer retains your body heat. This layer must also wick perspiration away from your body. Pile, polar fleece and synchilla are all great. (From now on they will be called “fleece”) as they dry quickly. Wool is not recommended, it is heavy and difficult to dry.

-The third layer offers protection from the wind. The more wind proof a garment is, the less breathable it will be. A mountain parka or anorak made of a suplex, ventile or micro fiber is excellent. Most Gortex and waterproof-breathable materials do not breathe in temperature below -20 C.

-The fourth layer offers extra insulation and is worn when you are taking a break, repairing a broken binding on the trail or setting up camp. A down or synthetic filled expedition parka and pants are ideal. Pants need full side zips to allow putting them on over boots. These insulating layers are also used if you go for an unplanned swim and must continue to ski in wet clothes.

While the arctic names even sound cold, the technology is making it possible to live, work, and even play, in these extreme environments. It only makes sense that the military would be leading the way in finding methods in which to function at this amazing locale. That’s one of the story-lines we explore in the book.

What would you do if you were able to go to the South Pole? We’d love to hear what your Arctic Expedition would include.

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