We are so excited! The North Pole season is just around the corner and we are ready.
We have five North Pole expeditions in April. These include one North Pole Flight, one 10k Ski Expedition and three Last Degree Ski Expeditions. We welcome you to follow along as we share their adventures on this blog. The blog will officially kick off on April 12 so mark your calendars and check back again soon!
Want to meet the intrepid adventurers who will be joining us? Here they are...
Our North Pole expeditions will kick off on April 12. We invite you to meet the adventurers who make up our 2017 North Pole teams!
|William McCarthy||North Pole Flight|
|William (Bill) McCarthy is a resident of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. He is 57 years old and owns and operates his own real estate development and consulting firm. He holds six university degrees and ten professional designations. His many hobbies include gardening, beekeeping, reading, and travelling. He and his wife Dolores have three children, John, Liam and Claire. This past January he travelled to the Antarctic and overnighted at the South Pole.|
|I am in California and retired as an engineer. I enjoy hiking and travel. I have been to Antarctica and I am going to the North Pole for my 80th birthday.|
|I‘m am Arthur 54 years old married ,no kids. I‘m living in Germany near Munich. I was owner of an international working company which was specialised for bulk material handlings systems. I sold this company 2011 ( www.Loibl.biz ) Now I‘m self spporting myself. I love to travel ,was in over 90 countries in this world and 2016 two times in Antarctica Once at the peninsula with ship and November at White Desert Camp . Also I’ve been on the South Pole and now I want see also the North Pole.|
As a fifth generation Muscovite, Jane Golubev moved from Russia to Calgary, Canada in 1992 to continue her business career. Her work at a number of major oil companies took her around the world to countries including Russia, Japan, South Korea, Italy, the UK and Monaco, allowing Jane to fulfill everyone's dream of an early retirement. She has returned to settle in Calgary, and now occupies her time with supporting the local Arts organisations, exploring new activities, and remotely running a historical hotel property in Vermont, United States. She enjoys spending time with her beloved dog and, of course, travels further around the globe at every opportunity. Jane has visited more than 100 countries, is fluent in English, Russian and Portuguese, and, like the rest of us, loves food, wine, and beer.
|Igor Tesker had moved to Canada in 2008 and stepped into completely different world, literally and business wise. In his previous life in Russia he graduated from the Moscow State University, completed his PhD in chemistry and successfully worked in the oil industry, then life changed, and he created an entertaining distribution company Minimax Group Inc. Six years later it became one of the biggest video game distributors in Canada. His passion for adventure took him all over the world, in more than 80 countries. When is not traveling or working Igor actively supports ever-growing Calgary art scene and loves movies, especially short films.|
|Richard Christiansen is a Creative Director, story teller and adventurer. He is the Founder of Chandelier Creative, a design studio and digital branding agency in New York City.|
|Shaun is a biotechnology entrepreneur who has a passion for travelling. He grew up in the British Columbia, Canada on the edge of the Rocky Mountains and is attracted to the fresh air and natural beauty of the wilderness. Shaun travelled to the bottom of the world in November and is excited to now travel to the top!|
|I am 49 years old, live in the UK, have 2 children both at University, 1 post and 1 undergrad. Professionally I am a Marketing and Sustainability Director for a UK plc and hold various Non Exec roles in Ethical Trading and Responsible Business. I have completed several arctic training course in Sweden and Norway and reaching the North Pole is a life goal. I am taking the opportunity of this trip to raise money for Leukaemia Care a charity close to my heart.|
|Dena Grayson, MD, PhD (née Dena Minning) is a physician and biomedical researcher. Dr. Grayson was born and raised in Florida and earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida (Phi Beta Kappa, High Honors), becoming the first female member of her family to graduate from college. Dr. Grayson earned her M.D. (Alpha Omega Alpha) and Ph.D. (Spencer T. Olin Fellow), from Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Grayson realized the promise of combining her passion for clinical medicine with her knowledge of basic science to improve patients’ lives. To fulfill this goal, she became a biotechnology researcher, leading the development of new medicines to treat grave diseases. Dr. Grayson helped lead the development of the recently approved cholesterol drug, Repatha (evolocumab) and has developed other new medicines to treat cancer, kidney disease, autoimmune disorders, and Ebola and other deadly viral infections. Dr. Grayson’s groundbreaking medical research has been published in prominent scientific journals, such as Nature, and featured in the New York Times.|
|10 km Ski Expedition|
|I am a 69 year old Scot living in Norfolk England. I work in the building industry. Looking forward to bright sunshine no wind and a glorious ski to the pole.|
I am Karen, I am 43 years old. I am married with three young children. My husband and I work in the tourist industry running a backpackers. We travel extensively and are lucky enough to spend the winter in the French Alps snowboarding most days. Home is Cornwall in the West of the Uk, where my husband and the kids spend their time surfing. Im not a fan of the cold water! I’m looking forward to completely new and beautiful landscape, experiencing true wilderness and of course standing on top of the world!
|I am 32, live in North Yorkshire and have been a keen traveler and adventurer since I was young. It is a hobby I share with My family, having taken many trips all over the world in the last fifteen years. I work in property but my passions are music, sports, travel and writing. Over the next couple of years I am hoping to forge a career in travel writing.|
|Dean Attwell||Last Degree Ski|
|I am a 49 years old dad of 3 sons and 1 daughter. I run a family business involved in food distribution primarily throughout the UK and Ireland. My first major physical challenge was Kilimanjaro in 2013 and this North Pole expedition was the next major target after a number of other less-demanding challenges didn’t quite hit the spot! Really looking forward to the mental and physical test and being part of a winning team that reaches the North Pole without going for a dip!|
|Jim Holliday||Last Degree Ski|
|Jim Holliday is from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, USA. He is 61 years old and works as a structural engineer at the Bechtel Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory. He has climbed the Seven Summits as a way to honor his Mom's memory by carrying her photo, and when permissible, leaving it on the summits of the continental high points. He is skiing to the North Pole as the penultimate step toward completing the Explorers Grand Slam, the final step being to ski to the South Pole. He will be carrying his Mom in his heart and her photo to the North Pole, again to honor her memory.|
|Joel Schauer||Last Degree Ski|
|Married 30 years. 3 Adult children who are all successful in business. Started 2 orphanages, 2 schools and 1 company. Enjoy coaching, work, people, nature and outdoors. Afraid of Polar bears, Grizzly bears less than 5 meters away, and the Yeti.|
|Mike Grigsby||Last Degree Ski|
|I raced J-35 sailing yachts on Lake Michigan before serving as foredeck crew on transoceanic yacht races and have sailed the Atlantic and the Andaman. I completed the 7 summits in 2016 including Everest and Lhotse in 24 hours. I hitched a ride to the South Pole on a DC3 loaded with 55 gallon drums of diesel fuel in 2015 to pick up skiers who had arrived from the coast. I have raced amateur lemans on road courses and pilot a powered paraglider. Married, with two daughters, aged 4 and 6, I am a regular on the kindergarten and elementary ‘show and tell’ and ‘mornings with daddy’ circuit. If successful skiing the last degree to each pole, I will complete the Adventurers Grand Slam.|
|Pia Irwin||Last Degree Ski|
|I am a ‘Heinz 57’, half Danish - half British born in the Middle East and grown up around the world: Middle East, Europe, Africa and Far East. I love travel and experiences. In 2015 I started my own business assisting clients to realise their visions and convert their passions into reality. The last year has been an amazing trip which has seen me assist in the setting up of a drowning prevention charity in Bahrain and a new restaurant. I have been fortunate enough to travel for work and holiday seeing Australia and Georgia for the first time and visiting old favourites. The best thing is always the people - I have met amazing characters, people I lived the moment with and people I will know the rest of my life. I try to push myself as hard as possible to experience as much as I can - hopefully all pleasure but, sometimes, it ends up being a bit painful (Kashmir!!!). But Hej, it’s all character building and fills in those nights around the fire with a good glass of red wine in hand!|
|Tamas Seregi||Last Degree Ski|
|Bio coming Soon...|
|David McGrain||Last Degree Ski|
|I am 54 years old, married, and have 5 children between 14 and 25. I am a retired real estate investor. For the past 5 years, I have traveled the world supporting human rights projects for our private family foundation called the Inti Raymi Fund. When I’m not working on the fund, I enjoy high altitude mountaineering with 4 of the seven summits climbed with 2 unsuccessful attempts on Everest, the latest being in 2015 with the unfortunate earthquake and avalanche.|
|Henry Smith||Last Degree Ski|
|Henry Smith is husband to Faye and father of three adult daughters (along with Rolo the family cockapoo). Founder of Aitch Group, a collection of successful businesses - predominantly property yet further investments into recruitment and finance. Likes – Cycling, holidays and chocolate biscuits…Dislikes – the complaining of my snoring (sorry in advance!)|
|Jim Chaffin||Last Degree Ski|
|I lived in Atlanta and Houston most of my life and have an abundance of family and friends for support. My life has varied from owning my own contracting company, which built parks and specialized in hardscaping to creating different mediums of art work. I have many passions in life including; fly fishing, golf, cultured events, charity work and travel. My current focus is on seeing the world while I still have good health and can enjoy all the different aspects that global travel bring. Participating in all the unique cultures around the world has been a life changing experience. I feel very blessed to be in a position to see all the great wonders.|
|Lindsay Barber||Last Degree Ski|
|I am 54 years old and have 5 adult children two already being married and 4 grandchildren. I am self-employed running a large construction services company and really enjoy meeting new people from all walks of life. I love participating in a variety of outdoor activities including snow and water skiing, fresh and salt water swimming events and bush hiking/trekking. I travel extensively and I'm really looking forward to challenging myself both physically and mentally on this expedition.|
|Mark Shuttleworth||Last Degree Ski|
|I am 53 years old, retired, and happily married to Jenny. We have 2 lovely daughters both finishing University this year, one in the US and the other in Scotland. Having attempted K2 in 2016 I am looking forward to a challenge which is not vertical in nature!|
|Niall Carton||Last Degree Ski|
|Born in Co Down in Ireland in 1968. Played chess to an international level until the age of 25 becoming Irish Chess champion twice during that time. After university and chess career starting working for ING Bank in 1997 in London. Worked for 10 years here in the Market Risk department and was responsible for the Central European region including Russia. Was transferred to Moscow Russia in 2007 to head up the trading operation for the bank. It was during the Russian winters that I discovered cross-country skiing and the idea for skiing to the pole was born. I have done the last degree ski to the North Pole in 2011 & 2014 (with one of my sons) and to the south pole in 2013. Looking forward to the North Pole ski once again another son.|
|Patrick Carton||Last Degree Ski|
|My name is Patrick, I was born in London in 2002. When I was five years old I moved with my family to Moscow, Russia. We lived there for 8 years where I enjoyed lots of winter sports; ice hockey, skiing – cross country and downhill and of course sledging! I loved the Moscow winters. This was one of the best things about of living there. We have now moved to the Netherlands where I have started studying for my GCSE’s. I cycle 8 miles every day to get to and from school. I also enjoy playing basketball and this year I was on the ISST team (International Schools Sports Tournament). Previously I have sailed form the Azores to Wales with my mother and grandfather on his 30-foot yacht, which was quite an adventure as we had to run south to avoid hurricane Bertha. I am very excited to be going to the North Pole with my dad and we are both training hard, although I am much fitter than him!|
|Dexter Salna||Last Degree Ski|
|I've been to the South Pole, now the North Pole. I'm an ordinary person living an extraordinary life.|
|Muhammad Irwan||Last Degree Ski|
|Born as a native Sarawakian, that have passion and active in outdoor activities, multi sports and adventure sports such as duathlon, adventure race, mountain biking, mountain climbing, rock climbing, white water rafting, trail running, and all outdoor activities. Representing Malaysia in “Crossing Greenland Expedition 2014” (1st south east asia team crossing the world biggest ice island) and Malaysia North Pole Expedition 2017 ( The Last Degree Expedition ).|
|Qobin Mokhtarrudin||Last Degree Ski|
|Qobin has climbed the Seven Summits and has cycled across 23 countries. He is the founder of Aquatwo Sdn Bhd and the president of Kelab Eksplorasi 7 Benua Malaysia (7 continents Exploration Club Malaysia). He has been on numerous expeditions and is the author of three books. He studied business management as well as sports science & recreation.|
|Shahrom Abdullah||Last Degree Ski|
|Shahrom’s first passion was mountain biking and he started racing at national standard at the age of 19, having represented Malaysia in mountain biking in the SEA Games and Sukma. He raced competitively around Asia and consistently finishes in the top 3. Shahrom switched his focus from mountain biking to Duathlon after a series of back injury in 2002 and made his debut in the Malakoff Malaysia Duathlon Series where he finished 2nd. He continued to excel in Duathlon and was subsequently employed and sponsored by Malakoff in 2003. Shahrom was the first Malaysian to qualify for the Powerman World Championship finals in Zofingen, Switzerland and his best performance was when he finished 14th overall in the World Championship. Shahrom is a self-coached athlete and continues to compete in the Powerman series in Europe. He has now included Triathlon and Adventure Sports in his racing calendar. In addition to part time training, Shahrom is coaching a small group of young athletes to help inspire the younger generation to become involved in sport. Very recently in January 2016, Shahrom became the 1st Malaysian to ski from Messner to the zero degree point of South Pole. Shahrom completed the expedition in 37 days.|
|Martin Frey||Last Degree Ski|
Ever since Martin was a boy he had a deep love for the outdoors, especially the ocean. Since then he has sailed the seven seas and climbed the seven summits. He has worked in Silicon Valley for Cisco and with the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development. He has sailed half way around the world with his family and has competed in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. You can read more about him at 7summits7seas.org
|Annie Aggens (Guide)||Last Degree Ski|
|Annie Aggens loves the polar regions and gets to talk about them every day as director of PolarExplorers. She has guided multiple expeditions to the North Pole, South Pole, Greenland and Iceland. She is the author of the Encyclopedia of Outdoor and Wilderness Skills and often lectures about polar history and expedition travel. Her role as polar guide allows her to teach people about the effects of climate change on the Arctic and polar regions. Favorite tent pastime? Playing her "guitarita" and having peotry slams. She is on the board of the International Polar Guide Association.|
|Keith Heger (Guide)||Last Degree Ski|
|Keith Heger is a master at navigating rubble zones and he is famous for cooking up delicious fajitas après ski. He has guided more than a dozen North Pole, South Pole and Greenland Crossing expeditions. Keith is a gear head, he loves to talk about gizmos and gadgets relating to polar travel. You just might find him testing out the newest piece of kit during an expedition. In his free time you'll find him SUP boarding with his two sons or teaching them how to ski.|
|Eric Lillstrom (Guide)||Last Degree Ski|
|Eric came to Polar Explorers with an extensive, well-rounded background in a wide variety of outdoor skills. His real strengths lie in his teamwork and problem-solving abilities. His empathetic nature and fun personality are put to good use helping our polar teams reach their goals. Eric is an avid backpacker, bow-hunter, and fisherman. His advice is, “Take every opportunity offered to enjoy nature. Experiencing the outdoors is what keeps us grounded and allows us to appreciate our day-to-day lives.” His favorite expedition? North Pole Last Degree Ski.|
|Nancy Moundalexis (Guide)||10 km Ski Expedition|
|Nancy Moundalexis may hold our annual record for the most nights spent under the stars, or the midnight sun as is often the case! Besides guiding for PolarExplorers she works with the US Forest Service as a wilderness ranger traveling & patrolling Minnesota's boundary between Canada and the USA. Her mode of travel? Dogsled in the winter, canoe in the summer. She also spends a chunk of time each year guiding and doing logistical support work in Antarctica. Nancy's friendly smile and fun-loving personality will help to keep you warm on the coldest of days. She's always in search of the perfect cup of coffee so if a morning java is a part of your daily routine you'll appreciate having Nancy as a guide. She loves the subtle and beautiful colors of the pack ice and sharing the wonders of the world's coldest climates with her teams|
|Andrew Leary (Guide)||Last Degree Ski|
|Andrew came to Polar Explorers with an extensive background of guiding groups in the outdoors. He is an incredibly gifted educator and has a knack for being able to relay technical skills and concepts to anyone he's with. His calm, friendly demeanor makes him a hit with just about everyone. Andrew's day job is developing youth curriculum for Leave No Trace, the most widely accepted outdoor ethics program in the USA. When not on an expedition, you'll find Andrew instructing mountaineering courses for the University of Utah, ski touring in the Rockies and entertaining his highly energetic dog named Benny.|
|Chris Paustian (Guide)||Last Degree Ski|
|Chris Paustian loves the cold and always prefers to be on the water, even if it's frozen. During winter storms Chris likes to play "surf & turf", that's an hour of surfing the swells of the Pacific followed by an hour of skiing. He loves to share his passion for the outdoors with other adventurers, especially in the Arctic. If you like spicy food, be sure to sit near Chris at mealtimes. He is the official PolarExplorers hot sauce thaw-master. When he's not on expedition, you can find Chris kayaking, paddleboarding and surfing in the vicinity of Seattle, WA regardless of wind, rain or snow.|
|Taylor Sweitzer (Guide)||Last Degree Ski|
|Taylor Sweitzer first traveled to the North Pole when he was only 9 years old then came back at age 15 to become the then youngest person to ski the last degree to the Pole. He's also climbed several of the world's tallest peaks. But you would never know this from talking with him. He is humble, soft spoken and more interested in other people's experiences. Taylor has guided at both Poles and around the world. You'll enjoy his tendency to celebrate the best parts of any situation and he is quicker than lightning to lend a hand whenever one is needed.|
Graeme Shankland is 56, married with two grown up children, lives in London and has worked in finance all his working life. He currently has his own private equity business, Caird Capital, investing in UK companies in a broad range of sectors. He has a passion for the Antarctic and is a keen supporter and admirer of Ernest Shackleton. Graeme was kind enough to share some insights from his experience as a first-time polar explorer, skiing the last degree to the South Pole with PolarExplorers.
This morning, a Twin Otter was finally able to fly into Vinson Base Camp to gather the team off the Branscomb Glacier. A short 40 min later they were back in Union Glacier, awaiting the Ilyushin 76 which touched down on the Blue Ice Runway around noon.
We just heard from the team that they had safely landed Punta Arenas where a hot showers and soft beds await. Tomorrow morning, with much regret, the team will dissolve as people catch flights back home.
Thank you to everyone who followed along and engaged with us on social media, and thanks to all of the staff, guides, and team members that have made this expedition such an incredible success!
After a day of descending from high camp the team has returned to Vinson basecamp, their temporary home away from home. It brings a sense of closure to this awesome expedition, but that doesn't mean that it is over!