Mike Horn – From Pole to Pole to Pole
Here at Angus Adventures we have always felt that the Holy Grail of expedition challenges would be a human powered circumnavigation of the world intersecting both poles.
Renowned South African explorer Mike Horn is planning an expedition very close to this concept – a zero-emissions circumnavigation through the poles. The stages over land and ice will utilize human power and the oceans will be traversed by sailboat.
Mike Horn has a solid background in completing grueling human-powered quests. Recently, along with Borge Ousland, Mike completed the first trek to the North Pole in the winter. He has circumnavigated the world along the equator using nothing but muscle and sail power, and has trekked around the world along the Arctic Circle. His next quest is possibly the most difficult yet, and Mike will be relying on the skills he has acquired from years of trekking in extreme conditions.
Expedition Outline (courtesy of www.mikehorn.com)
Mike Horn is ready to start a new chapter in the world of exploration.
In 2008, he will start a new expedition: the circumnavigation of the world. This will be done without any motor-powered transport, over the North Pole and South Pole, crossing the seven continents, passing numerous islands and sailing across several oceans. Mike will accumulate all the previous experience and knowledge he has acquired over the years from recent expeditions and apply this to take his expedition to the next level.
The expedition will be divided into seven stages. Each stage will represent one of the seven continents (Africa, Europe, North America, South America, Australasia, Asia and Antarctica) and a natural wonder unknown to man.
Means of transport will include sailing, walking, canoeing, kayaking, kite surfing, walking under water, skiing and any locomotion using animals where available and where necessary.
About Mike Horn (courtesy of www.mikehorn.com)
Mike Horn was born in Johannesburg in South Africa on the 16th of July 1966. After studying Human Movement Science at the University of Stellenbosch, he left South Africa in 1990 to travel to Europe, where he started work as a ski instructor, river and canyoning guide.
In 1991, he left for a paragliding and rafting expedition in the Peruvian Andes. On his return he was asked to become a member of the “Sector No Limits” sports team, and shortly afterwards descended the Mont Blanc Glacier on a body board, ending at the French Riviera.
In 1995, Mike opened the “No Limits” Outdoor Activity Sports Centre in Switzerland. It was during this time that Mike broke the world record for the highest descent of a waterfall with a hydrospeed, on the Pacuare River in Costa Rica. (22m)
In 1997, Mike launched his first big expedition: the 6 month solo traverse of the South American continent. He left on foot from the Pacific Ocean and climbed to the source of the Amazon River high in the Peruvian Andes. From here he descended the 7,000 km of the Amazon river on a hydrospeed, until he reached the Atlantic Ocean.
Since then, Mike has become fascinated by yet another sport: sailing. With the best possible teacher – Laurent Bourgnon – they won the Multicocques Grand Prix, after which he was asked to join the crew on Mari Cha III, a 45m monohull, as wincher, a position requiring great physical strength. Much to their delight they beat the transatlantic world record by 2 days and 14 hours.
In 1999, Mike launched another big adventure: the circumnavigation of the world along the equator. He baptized the expedition “Latitude Zero”, travelling alone around the world in the 17 months from June 1999 to October 2000, and without any form of motorised transport. Starting in Gabon on the West Coast of Africa he traversed the Atlantic Ocean in a small trimaran of 8 meters. On his arrival in South America, he left his boat in the care of his logistics team, and continued on foot and pirogue through the Amazon jungle, only to find his trimaran awaiting him once again on the West Coast. After three months on the Pacific Ocean he arrived at the Indonesian Island, from where he crossed the Indian Ocean. Africa, the last continent, he crossed on foot, on mountain bike and pirogue.
Mike is the first man ever to achieve such a feat, and after this he became internationally renowned, receiving many awards and prizes, namely the Laureus Award for “Best Alternative Sportsman of the Year”, “Adventurer of the Year” for Out There magazine, and the “Toison d’Or” for the film festival in Dijon.
The next expedition was in 2002, when Mike attempted a solo and unassisted crossing of the North Pole. Much to his disappointment, this trip was aborted 45 days later because of bad frostbite to his fingers.
One month after having the tips of his fingers amputated, Mike set off again, and this time on his biggest adventure: the circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle, solo and without the aid of any motorised transport or dogs. This expedition was called “Arktos” and took Mike 2 years and 3 months to complete, once again setting another record by being the first ever person to complete, non-stop, the 20,000 km route around the Arctic Circle, enduring two harsh Arctic winters with temperatures reaching as low as -60°C.
With still a strong desire to reach the North Pole itself, Mike – along with Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland – decided to reach the North Pole on foot. On the 23rd of March 2006, after 60 days and 5 hours of walking, Mike and Borge finally accomplished what they set out to achieve. They are the first people ever to walk to the North Pole in the sunless Arctic winter, walking 10-12 hours a day pulling their sledges laden with 160kg of equipment in the extreme Arctic temperatures and in 24 hours of complete darkness for the majority of the expedition. This expedition creates a new chapter in Arctic History.
Mike has now returned to Switzerland and is with his wife, Cathy and two daughters, Annika and Jessica (14 and 12 years old).
Mike has written four books about his expeditions, each of which has reached the best seller list in France. These books are currently available in several different languages world-wide. Films of his exploits have also been made and have won many prizes throughout Europe.
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