A call for inspiring explorers to join iconic polar journey
New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust is looking for three Kiwis or Australians (aged 20 to 35) who
are resilient, able to work in a team, motivated to challenge themselves and have a sense of humour
- to attempt a 560-kilometre crossing of the Greenland ice cap on skis while pulling a heavy sled.
The Trust - most recently famous for conserving a 106-year-old fruit cake found in Antarctica’s first
building - has chosen the crossing attempt for its 2018 Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition.
Trust Executive Director Nigel Watson says the journey will honour a true icon of polar exploration –
Norway’s Fridtjof Nansen.
“Nansen led the first team to cross the Greenland ice cap in 1888. He went on to become a famous
scientist and humanitarian who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922. Nansen also inspired
many of our great heroic explorers to venture to Antarctica – including Scott, Shackleton and
Nigel Watson says the Trust’s expedition is inspired by the first crossing taken by Nansen and his
team. It will be professionally guided by respected experts Borge Ousland Polar Exploration.
“Our team will be on the ice for at least 25 days, each pulling a sled behind them carrying everything
they need to survive - food, cookers, tents, clothing. When we set out the sleds will weigh in excess
of 55 kilograms. We hope the awe of being surrounded by one of the world’s most fantastic
geographical wonders will mentally lighten the loads.”
In addition, the crossing will involve challenging icefalls, the vastness and desolation of an ice sheet,
altitude and, possibly, extreme weather changes.
Despite those demands, Nigel Watson says applicants don’t need to be experienced hardcore
adventurers or polar explorers.
“We want motivated young people from New Zealand and Australia with the get up and go to
challenge themselves, to work as part of a small team, to push themselves and have the adventure
of a lifetime!”
This is the third Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition that the Trust has undertaken. In 2017 an expedition
journeyed to the top of Mount Scott in Antarctica, and in 2015 the inaugural expedition traversed
South Georgia Island honouring the centenary of Shackleton’s famous crossing.
The challenge beyond the physical and mental one of undertaking the expedition is for young people
to inspire others with the spirit of exploration.
“We are encouraging young people to connect with the legacy and spirit of exploration. Our Inspiring
Explorers’ Expeditions create a new generation of explorers and give them a platform to share their
stories to inspire others to explore the amazing world we live in,” says Nigel.
“Completing this 560-kilometre crossing could be an exploration career highlight for participants or it
may provide a springboard for future unguided expeditions in the polar regions or elsewhere. Either
way, it will be a remarkable experience,” says Nigel.
Anyone interested in finding out more or applying should visit the Trust’s website at nzaht.org.