Your Mileage May Vary

Category: Expedition 🚙 (Page 1 of 2)

The Polar Expeditions Classification Scheme, a new unified classification system

Following Colin O’Brady’s claim to have completed the first unsupported and unassisted crossing of Antarctica, the polar adventure world came together to point out the inaccuracies of the 33-year old American’s highly publicised and inaccurate claims. They then set about to develop a standard of definitions relating to polar travel.

Ash Routen, Explorersweb »

So in the wake of the O’Brady saga, veteran polar guide Eric Philips, along with other senior members of the polar community, decided that standardization was overdue in the polar world. Over the past two years, they developed The Polar Expeditions Classification Scheme (PECS), which was launched earlier this week.

Continue reading

Wade Davis argues exploration is a flawed notion and explorers need to shed their self-obsession

Wade Davis, writing in The Walrus »

The true and original explorers, men and women who actually went where no humans had been, were those who walked out of Africa some 65,000 years ago, embarking on a journey that, over 2,500 generations, roughly 40,000 years, carried the human spirit to every corner of the habitable world.

Since then, terrestrial exploration has rarely been divorced from power and conquest. Searching for a passage to the Indies, Jacques Cartier is said to have discovered the Saint Lawrence River in 1534, though the valley was clearly settled at the time, the waters offshore crowded with the Basque fleet, fishermen with no interest whatsoever in flaunting the location of their discoveries: a cod fishery that would feed Europe for three centuries.

History heralds Francisco de Orellana as the first to travel the length of the Amazon (1541), a journey documented by his companion and scribe, Gaspar de Carvajal, who wrote of fleets of native canoes and riverbanks dense with settlements, home to just some of the 10 million people then living in the basin. …

Read the whole essay at The Walrus »

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.

Read the whole article »

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 recognise 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

Colin O’Brady claims to be the first person to ski unaided across Antarctica. But is he?

Update added below.

According to his website, Colin O’Brady has completed the first-ever solo, unsupported, unaided crossing of Antarctica. He has reportedly arrived at the Ross Ice Shelf on the Pacific Ocean.

Aaron Teasdale, writing for National Geographic »

Using solely his own muscle power, O’Brady skied 932 miles pulling a 300-pound sled over 54 frigid days across the coldest, windiest, most remote continent on Earth, crossing from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean via the South Pole. After a remarkable 80-mile continuous push over the last two days, almost five times his strenuous daily average, he emerged from the TransAntarctic Mountains onto the Ross Ice Shelf a little before 1 p.m. EST, December 26 and stamped his name into the annals of polar lore.

Peter Winsor, writing for Explorersweb »

But was O’Brady’s crossing really unassisted? O’Brady and Rudd have been skiing on a packed road all the way from the South Pole to their finish line. Known as the McMurdo-South Pole Highway, or the South Pole Overland Traverse Road (SPOT), it is a flattened trail groomed by tractors towing heavy sledges. It conveys personnel and supplies from McMurdo Station to the South Pole. Flags every 100m or so make navigation easy during whiteouts, and all the crevasses were filled in by the original construction crew. Most importantly for a skier, it eliminates the rock-hard, bumpy sastrugi that the wind shapes out of loose snow.

“It is a highway,” says veteran polar guide Eric Philips, “[that] more than doubles someone’s speed and negates the need for navigation. An expedition cannot be classed as unassisted if someone is skiing on a road.”

In polar travel, while “unsupported” means no supply drops, “unassisted” additionally requires no outside help of any kind to make the distance easier: no kites, dogs, roads or navigation flags. Norway’s Borge Ousland crossed Antarctica alone and unsupported in 1996-7, but his journey is not considered unassisted because a kite towed him part of the way.

Update 2020.02.03 

Aaron Teasdale, writing for National Geographic »

National Geographic also reported on O’Brady and Rudd during their treks in 2018, and when O’Brady completed his journey, described it as “historic” and “unsupported.” After reviewing those stories and gathering more information, we’ve amended them with an editor’s note.

Prominent leaders of the adventure and polar communities were less enthusiastic about O’Brady’s claims. Conrad Anker, Alex Honnold, Mike Horn, Borge Ousland, and others spoke out against him, accusing O’Brady of exaggerating his accomplishment or worse.

Over the last several months, National Geographic has investigated O’Brady’s claims. He agreed to three phone interviews but recently stopped responding to requests for comment. We also spoke with an array of leading polar explorers, including some of O’Brady’s mentors, many of whom believe he has distorted the truth in pursuit of fame.

O’Brady “didn’t do what [he] advertised,” says Australian polar explorer Eric Philips, cofounder and president of the International Polar Guides Association. “This wasn’t some Last Great Polar Journey. Rather, it was a truncated route that was a first in only a very limited way.”

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.

Read More

« Older posts

© 2021 Adventure Trend

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑