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Category: Expedition

Jenny Davis skied 715 Miles across Antarctica completely alone—and that’s just one of her crazy adventures

Jenny Davis

Jenny Davis

Jenny Davis as told to Ellie Trice / Shape Magazine »

This passion took on a new life when I was diagnosed with a benign tumor in my abdomen five years ago. After a painful surgery and treatment, I made the decision—while still recovering in a hospital bed—to apply to run the Marathon de Sables, a 155.5-mile ultramarathon through the Sahara Desert, starting in Ouarzazate, Morocco. I moved to Morocco to train and live in a tent among other female athletes from around the world, and ended up being the 16th female to cross the finish line after five days.

Adventure to me is about being idle. That doesn’t mean you have to go on a huge expensive expedition—you can simply just set up camp in the wild close to home for the weekend. It’s about getting outdoors and disconnecting from the pressures of mundane life.

But I wasn’t going to give up. In November 2019, I strapped on my skis and made my second attempt. This time around, for the first 500 miles, I was skiing at world-record pace. Then an injury, one they call polar thigh, set in. (The motion of skiing into a headwind or tailwind can compress your legwear, and if there you don’t have enough insulation or any cold air gets trapped, you can suffer from polar thigh.) For me, it started as these small clusters of ulcers on my leg, which continued to get bigger and bigger over time.

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More » Jenny Davis (web site)

Oskar Speck, the man who paddled a kayak from Germany to Australia starting in 1932, and Sandy Robson, the woman who recreated the adventure some 80 years later

Justin Housman, writing in The Adventure Journal »

In a span of seven years, he paddled a series of 15-foot kayaks more than 30,000 miles from the Danube River in Europe to the tropical shores of far northern Australia. Even better, when he first set out, he was “merely” planning to paddle to Cyprus for work, with no intention of traveling by kayak to the other side of the world. But the paddling proved irresistible and Speck did not stop once he reached Cyprus.

[…]

Speck was 25 years old when he set out on his incredible journey. He was an unemployed electrician living in Hamburg. Work was scarce and prospects were dim after the 1929 stock market crash ripped through Germany, so Speck decided to seek work in the copper mines of Cyprus. With no other means to get there, and as a proud member of a kayaking club since his youth, Speck decided to paddle his way to, hopefully, a job.

In May, 1932, Speck shoved off from banks of the Danube in a collapsible and very much not seaworthy 15-foot kayak, and began paddling south. He arrived in the Balkans several weeks later and, lulled to boredom by the languid waters of the Danube, Speck made for the Vardar River, where soon fierce rapids dashed his boat nearly to splinters. While awaiting repairs, winter set in and the Vardar froze over, locking Speck in place for months.

Read the whole article in The Adventure Journal »

In November 2016, Western Australian woman Sandy Robson (aged 48), recreated Speck’s adventure, completed in some 5 years, having visited 20 countries and paddled some 23,000 kilometres.

The GPS wars are here, or why you need to learn to use a compass

It is important to recognize how vulnerable our technology is and how over-dependent we have become to fragile systems, some of which was built during a more trusting era.

Many things we do today, and much of our economy, relies on global navigation satellite navigation and time keeping. Much of the western economy relies on the Global Positioning System (GPS), an aging, fragile, and vulnerable US military project. Turns out that it can be easily be jammed, hacked, and turned off. And has been. Sometimes unintentionally.

All this makes for a good argument to learn how to use an old-fashioned compass and read a map. Continue reading

An all-female expedition to the North Pole

Felicity Aston, writing in Geographical:

I’m not chasing “firsts” anymore,’ said one polar guide. ‘I’m chasing “lasts”.’ I recalled his words as I gazed down at the frozen skin of the Arctic Ocean from an aged Russian helicopter. The surface was scarred with jagged lines that varied in colour from the light grey of newly formed ice to the jet black of open water. Since satellite observations began in 1979, Arctic Ocean sea ice has been decreasing by 13 per cent every decade. Not only is there less ice, but the ice that does form is thinner and less stable, making any planned activity in the region – such as ski expeditions to the North Pole – increasingly challenging. With the scientific community predicting that the first ice-free summer in the Arctic Ocean will occur before 2100, many foresee that it may become impossible to ski to the North Pole in as little as five years time because the ice will no longer be able to sustain the runway and basecamp needed for logistics.

Even so, the sea ice appeared to be anything but fragile as the helicopter landed in the middle of a wide, smooth floe to deposit me and my team at a location some 80 kilometres from the North Pole. All around us were alarming reminders that we were not on solid ground but adrift on a constantly, and chaotically shifting, raft of frozen water. Around the edge of the floe, shards of electric blue ice more than two metres thick were piled in heaps, pushed out of place by the force of wind and current driving floes against each other. Elsewhere, an eerie fog hung low over the ice rubble, indicating the presence of open water up ahead where the floe had been pulled apart to reveal the dark ocean beneath. The ferocity and power of the forces of nature on display were intimidating. It would be frighteningly easy to be in the wrong place at the wrong time out here on the ice.

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Ten things no one tells you before an Antarctic expedition

Patrick Woodhead, writing in the Telegraph:

  1. You’re going to have to eat a lot of raw butter.
  2. Washing is a painful experience.
  3. Take it one step at a time.
  4. Choose your companions carefully. You may have to eat them.
  5. Going mental.
  6. The tent is a surprisingly nice place to be.
  7. Take a notebook and pencil.
  8. Frostbite is about sweat, genetics and experience.
  9. Expect delays. Planes rarely run on schedule.
  10. There is often a huge sense of isolation and disconnect when you come back to everyday life.

Read the whole article.

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