Sunday, October 26, 2008

Eric Larsen

I recently met a very inspiring figure, polar explorer Eric Larsen. He gave a talk at my work and I spoke to him afterwards. This guy, together with a friend, did the first ever summer expedition to the North Pole and they did it using skies and canoes. One of the reasons was to show how much open water there is on the North Pole and to draw attention to the plight of polar bears. Fittingly they did not see a single polar bear until they got to the actual North Pole leading to some scary moments as they were waiting for the Russian helicopter that was picking them up. An interesting part of his talk was all the excellent photography of which you can see a little bit on his site. Eric insisted on dragging a DSLR along and they charged their batteries every night using solar cells (in summer the sun shines at night on the pole). You think of the arctic sea and the pole as just a big frozen lake, but it is quite convoluted with lots of pushed up ice and other obstacles such as big open rivers. An impressive feat to cross this for sure. Now Eric is gearing up to do a one-year trip visiting the three extremes: The South pole, the North Pole and Everest. See his website on that expedition. The goal is to highlight Global warming by visiting all the coldest places on this world.

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