1. It's all about systems: Polar travel is simple -it's all about putting one foot in front of the next- but any errors or missteps could prove life-threatening. That's why everything we do "out there" has its own system. Using systems to tackle everyday tasks increases your safety and efficiency. It allows you to go through the motions of your day without having to allocate tons of brain power to make sure you aren't skipping something vital. How do you prepare for bed so that you don't wake up with fozen gear? We've got a system for that. How do you poop without freezing your ass off (literally!)? There's a system for that. How do you use your stove in tight quarters without having a disaster of some sort? You got it, a system. And using systems to make life easy can work on any adventure, polar or otherwise. You can even adapt it to your home life and reap the benefits of more mental downtime. In the world of polar expeditioning having systems is a must-do, and you'll learn them on our Shakedown.
2. Test driving your kit: Those high-altitude mountaineering mitts that cost a fortune came with such good reviews, but you better test drive them in polar conditions before you plan to use them on your expedition! Same with that old Gore-tex jacket you swear by from previous adventures, and also that face mask that seems to work well, at least when you tried it on in your bedroom. Your kit has to work flawlessly for the duration of your expedition. It's your only barrier between you and death (or at the very least an expensive evacuation!) You've got to know how to use it, how to fix it, and what (if any) modifications need to be made to it before you embark on your adventure. There's no better way to test your kit than by putting it through a Shakedown. You'll learn which items you love, which you can't stand, and which need a little attention before you can count on them. Don't rely solely on reviews or recommendations for your final kit selection. Each body is different and what works well for one person may not be a good match for another. Give your kit the "Shakedown Challenge" and you'll be happy you did.
3. Train to train: You may be an athlete, but chances are you've never done a polar expedition before; and skiing across sea ice, or trekking across fields of sastrugi probably isn't in your personal trainer's repertoire. You'll do best if you train for the real challenges that you will encounter on your expedition - and there's no better way to experience these than on a Shakedown. You'll feel the tug of the sled as you haul it over an obstacle. You'll experience the pace you need to maintain to make decent progress. You'll put in a full day's work skiing before having to make camp, collect snow to make water, cook dinner and prepare for bed. The amount and variety of work you have to do every day is more than you think! If you do the Shakedown your body will develop a certain amount of muscle memory for each activity. Jump ahead to day one of your polar expedition, when you take your first steps towards the North or South Poles, your body will say "I remember this. I have done this before!" and you will thank yourself for having been so smart.
4. Learning to Thrive, Not Survive: We don't go on expeditions to punish ourselves. We go to live fully and deeply and learn everything we can from our experiences. Which means that we can't be in survival mode all day every day. We should be in THRIVE mode. And yes, it is possible to thrive in such harsh conditions. Being prepared, knowing your kit and having trained are all important ingredients towards a fabulous expedition, and our Shakedown is like the cookbook - it gives you the instructions and vital tips you need to make everything come together beautifully.
5. Five days of fun: Did we mention that our Shakedown is an incredible adventure of its own? Many people join it just to learn and have fun. Sure, doing a polar expedition would be great, but if time or finances don't allow for a trip to the ends of the Earth, our Shakedown Training is a wonderful alternative!