Field Guide

Job reference:
BAS 22/11
Contract type:
Antarctic Contract
Summer (Up to 6 Months) or Winter Over (Up to 18 Months)
25,179 per annum initially. Additionally, upon completion of a successful tour, you will receive a bonus of up to 10%.
We offer generous benefits
British Antarctic Survey
Closing date:
31 March, 2022 11:59 pm


British Antarctic Survey is offering a unique opportunity as Field Guide in Antarctica.

Field Guides will assist scientific colleagues carrying out research in the polar environment whilst ensuring all field work and travel is carried out safely and efficiently. Of course, you'll also have to attend to many other duties, including assisting aircraft operations, organising camp sites, operating radio equipment and ensuring vehicles continue to work.

Practical, organised and unflappable, you'll have what it takes to work in the most challenging climate on Earth - enabling us to conduct successful scientific research across Antarctica.

Extensive experience of alpine mountaineering (Europe, or elsewhere) is a prerequisite. Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor, Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor are desirable.

Applicants should be active mountaineers (climbing, not hill walking) with at least five years’ experience of leading routes, during which they have done at least the following (or equivalent experience):

Climbed more than 20 multi-pitch rock routes at the following grades or above: UK 5a/USA 5.7/UIAA V-/Australia 14.

Climbed 10 multi-pitch winter/mixed routes at Scottish Grade 3 or above, or equivalent.

Climbed 5 alpine routes on mixed and glaciated terrain at PD or above, in Europe or elsewhere (rock routes do not apply). Significant ski-mountaineering trips on glaciated terrain may be considered as a substitute.

Who we are

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) delivers and enables world-leading interdisciplinary research in the Polar Regions. Our skilled science and support staff based in Cambridge, Antarctica and the Arctic, work together to deliver research that uses the Polar Regions to advance our understanding of Earth as a sustainable planet. Through our extensive logistic capability and know how BAS facilitates access for the British and international science community to the UK polar research operation. Numerous national and international collaborations, combined with an excellent infrastructure help sustain a world leading position for the UK in Antarctic affairs. British Antarctic Survey is a component of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). NERC is part of UK Research and Innovation

We employ experts from many different professions to carry out our Science as well as keep the keep the lights on, feed the research and support teams and keep everyone safe! If you are looking for an opportunity to work with amazing people in one of the most unique places in the world, then British Antarctic Survey could be for you. We aim to attract the best people for those jobs.

COVID-19 update

  •  We have a responsibility to do everything that we can to ensure that BAS Ships and Stations remain COVID free and that staff are deployed safely and responsibly. Our medical screening for this season will therefore take account of the recognised factors that increase your risk of an adverse reaction to the coronavirus (Primarily this is BMI at or above 30, age over 60 years old, or a history of smoking). The assessment is done confidentially by our Medical Unit and the criteria might be subject to change.
  •  You might be required to quarantine two weeks prior to your deployment, and you might sail to Antarctica on our polar ship.

All applications will be checked at point of application by BAS staff and those without the right to work in the UK or without a realistic prospect of being able to acquire the right to work in the UK will not progress.

Please read the Applicants guide here before submitting your application.


To conduct scientific colleagues safely and efficiently within the polar environment both on continental ice shelves and glaciated mountainous regions. Field parties come under the charge of the Field Operations Manager, who is based at Rothera and to whom the Field Guides are responsible for the safety, efficiency and well-being of their parties. All duties should be carried out in accordance with the Field Operations Manual.


  •  To ensure the safety and well being of all members of the field party and manage all hazards in the field where practicable.
  •  To ensure all field work is carried out in accordance with the appropriated BAS procedures such as the travel regulations, the Field Operations Manual and other standard operating procedures.
  •  To support scientific colleagues in their field work and assist in whatever way possible.
  •  In conjunction with the Field Operations Manager, ensure field parties have sufficient equipment and supplies for a safe and efficient field trip.
  •  To report major problems to the Field Operations Manager when they arise.
  •  To plan and ensure the safe and efficient movement of the field party.
  •  The organisation of field parties’ camp site.
  •  To ensure completion of daily radio schedules whilst in the field, reporting on the field parties’ status.
  •  To maintain equipment in the field including snowmobiles & generators where practical.
  •  To organise and staff forward operating bases, remote field camps and depots to provide direct and indirect support for aircraft operations.
  •  To deliver field training to staff, assess trainees’ abilities and maintain training records.
  •  To provide Search and Rescue cover for BAS field operations.
  •  To compile a report at the end of each season detailing events of the field trip, and other observations useful for future field operations.
  •  To work with other staff to ensure that the operational and safety standards of BAS field work are maintained or improved.
  •  To renovate and prepare field equipment for the next season.
  •  To carry out stock takes and assist in the procurement of field equipment and supplies.
  •  To provide opportunities for staff recreation as approved by the FOM or Station Leader.
  •  To prepare and consign additional food and equipment requested by parties in the field through the Field Party Request system.
  •  To undertake general duties as required by the Field Operations Manager and/or Station Leader, which could include building maintenance, decorating, cargo work, fuelling and loading of aircraft.

Please quote reference: BAS 21/11
Closing date for receipt of application forms is: 31st March 2022
Interviews are scheduled to be held: w/c 13th June

As part of our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and promoting equality in careers in science, we hold an Athena SWAN Bronze Award and have an active Equality, Diversity and Inclusion programme of activity. We welcome applications from all sections of the community. People from ethnic minorities and disabled people are currently under-represented and their applications are particularly welcome.

Antarctic deployment involves working in a remote and harsh environment where adaptations to working, living and recreation areas are not achievable to a level that might be expected in the UK. There is a Genuine Occupational Requirement to be physically capable of negotiating rough, icy and snowy terrain as well as being mentally resilient and medically fit.

Skills are listed as either Essential or Desirable. Desirable skills importance rating in parenthesis (1 is high, 5 is low)

Communication skills - a) oral skills b) written skills

  • Effective communications to team and base (sometimes remotely eg over HF Radio) - Essential
  • Outdoor skills teaching Experience - Desirable [2]

Computer / IT skills

  • Basic knowledge of word processing and spreadsheet use - Desirable [3]

Decision Making

  • Ability to make appropriate decisions about field safety in remote and potential hazardous environments - Essential
  • Able to make decisions in conjunction with other members of staff (both on site and remote) and autonomously as required - Essential

Interpersonal skills

  • One to one, as well as strong team working - Essential
  • Ability to work as part of a small remote team for extended periods of time - Desirable [1]

Other Factors

  • Physically capable & medically fit to work in Antarctic conditions - Essential
  • Previous experience of physically demanding work - Desirable [3]


  • Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor - Desirable [2]
  • Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor - Desirable [2]

Resource Management ability

  • Problem solving abilities both Practical and theoretical - Essential
  • High level of competence with attention to detail - Essential

Skills / Experience

  • Active alpine mountaineer with extensive experience of technical mountaineering in a broad range of remote environments - Essential
  • Proficient in safely leading others on steep snow rock and ice - Essential
  • Skills and experience to safely conduct groups across glaciated terrain - Essential
  • Experience of exploratory expeditions to remote areas - Desirable [2]
  • Experience of polar travel - Desirable [3]
  • Practical skills/background - Desirable [3]

In order to apply, please complete and upload all the application forms listed below. If you experience any issues in uploading your Application Form, please email us your complete application, making reference to the job reference and title.

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, please visit this website before applying.

Apply Online:

Apply by post:

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Recruitment team is working remotely and cannot access the building. If you would like to apply for this job but cannot apply online, please contact us: [email protected]

If you need more information

[email protected]
+44 (0)1223 221400
+44 (0)1223 362616

The information you provide during the application process will only be used for the purpose of progressing your application, to fulfil legal or regulatory requirements where necessary or, in the case of the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Questionnaire, to help BAS meet its equal opportunities policy.

The British Antarctic Survey will not share the information you provide with any third parties, and the information will be held securely by the British Antarctic Survey whether the information is in electronic or physical format. Please note that the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Questionnaire will be detached from your application prior to the short-listing of candidates for interview.

Unsuccessful applications will be securely destroyed 6 months after the end of the recruitment process (or 1 year after the end of the recruitment process in the case of Marine Staff and AEP. The applications of successful applicants will be retained as part of their personnel file.

Further information can be found in the information notice of NERC, our parent body.