Polar Explorer Plans To Ride Bike To The South Pole

A journey to the South Pole is one of the more demanding and difficult endeavors on our planet and yet each year a number of adventurous souls undertake the challenge of crossing the Antarctic on foot. Most spend upwards of six weeks skiing across 700+ miles of snow and ice just so that they can get the opportunity to stand at the bottom of the world. But this year polar explorer Eric Larsen will make that journey in an entirely new fashion and as he intends to ride his bike to the Pole.

In December, Larsen will travel to the Antarctic where he’ll begin his ride at Hercules Inlet, the most popular launching point for travelers heading to 90°S. His route will cover approximately 750 miles across the coldest, highest and driest continent on Earth. Along the way, Larsen will face high winds, whiteout conditions and temperatures that routinely plummet well below zero, making this a bike ride unlike any other. When he arrives at the Pole, Eric will then turn around and ride back to where he started, crossing another 750 miles if weather and time permits.

As you can imagine, Larsen will be taking a specially designed bike on his adventure. In order to deal with the snow and ice conditions, not to mention the potential hazards of crevasse fields, his bike will need to be tough and durable. That’s why he’ll be riding a Moonlander from Surly Bikes which will be outfitted with 5-inch-wide tires that will help handle the unique surface conditions that he’ll encounter in the Antarctic. It may not be the fastest bike around, but it is built like a tank and can hold up to the challenging environment for the 1500 miles he could potentially ride.

This won’t be Eric’s first trip to frozen continent. In 2010 he became the first person to visit both the North and South Pole, as well as summit Everest, all within a 365-day period. Those individual expeditions have no doubt prepared him well for this next excursion and it seems clear that the man certainly enjoys cold weather.

Follow Eric’s progress on his website, Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Watch video of Larsen testing his bike in winter conditions after the jump.

[Photo credit: Eric Larsen]

Explorer visits “three poles” in one calendar year

Last Friday, polar explorer and mountaineer Eric Larsen completed a rare fall summit on Mt. Everest. For most climbers, that would be a big enough accomplishment for any given year, but for Larsen, it was simply the third, and final, leg of a major expedition that saw him become the first person to reach both the North and South Pole, as well as the summit of the highest mountain on the planet, in a single calendar year.

Larsen launched his Save the Poles Expedition in November of last year, beginning the long journey across the desolate Antarctic continent to reach the South Pole. On January 2nd, 2010 he accomplished that feat, wrapping up the first leg of his planned expedition. In late April, he followed up his success at the bottom of the world by reaching the top, completing the second stage of the expedition by reaching the North Pole after 51 days out on the ice.

With the first two stages of the expedition out of the way, Larson had just Everest, which is sometimes referred to as the Third Pole, to conquer. Standing 29,035 feet in height, the mountain is a considerable challenge during it’s traditional climbing season, which falls in the spring. But that season also happens to overlap with the annual window to reach the North Pole, so Larsen was forced to schedule the climb in the fall, which has far fewer climbers on the mountain and offers more unpredictable weather. During the spring season it is not uncommon for 500 climbers to reach the summit of Everest from both the Nepali and Tibetan sides of the mountain. This fall, Larsen, along with his two Sherpa guides, were the only people to stand at the top of the world.

The Save the Poles Expedition was designed to raise awareness of the impact of global climate change on the extreme environments of our planet, something that Larsen has now experienced first hand. The explorer now hopes to take that message to the masses as he hits the speaking circuit to share his adventures with others.

Considering the very active year he’s had so far, I think it is also safe to say that Larsen has earned some much deserved downtime on a warm beach somewhere.

[Photo credit: Eric Larsen]

Explorer claims second of “three poles”

We’ve mentioned Eric Larsen and his Save The Poles Expedition on more than one occasion here at Gadling. He’s the explorer who has set out to become the first person to visit the “three poles” in one calendar year, with the three poles being the North and South Geographic Poles and the summit of Mt. Everest.

Last week Larsen took another major step in his quest by reaching 90ºN, otherwise known as the North Pole. He, along with teammates Antony Jinman and Darcy St. Laurent, spent 51 days out on the ice, battling high winds, sub-zero temperatures, massive rubble fields, and ice flowing away from the Pole that made it seem like they were on a treadmill at times. But in the end, they reached the top of the world, putting Larsen two-thirds of the way toward his goal. Eric, and two different teammates reached the South Pole back on January 2nd.

The main objective of the project is to raise awareness of global warming and its impact on the Earth’s Poles, while promoting the use of new, clean energy sources and carbon offsets. In that light, it seems all the more fitting that the team arrived at the North Pole on Earth Day.

With the North and South Pole under his belt, Larsen will now turn his attention on Everest. It is too late to make the climb during the spring season, so he’ll be planning a fall ascent. If all goes as planned, he’ll be making history later this year.

Polar explorer sets out for second pole

We’ve mentioned Eric Larsen a couple of times in the past few months. First, when he set off on his Save the Poles expedition, and again when he reached the South Pole, the first of three extreme destinations he has planned for this year. During the course of 2010, Larsen expects to reach all three “poles”, which includes both the North and South Geographic Poles, as well as the summit of Mt. Everest, as he works to raise awareness for alternative clean energy sources and ways to reduce carbon emissions.

With the start of the 2010 season for arctic expeditions hitting last week, Larsen has now begun the second stage of his endeavor. Eric and his companions, Antony Jinman and Darcy St Laurent, set out from Cape Discovery in Northern Canada last week. Ahead of them is a 450 mile unsupported journey to the top of the world, which means that they are dragging all of their gear and supplies behind them in sleds, while they cover the distance on skis, battling the most extreme weather and terrain on the planet.

In his first updates from the ice, Eric says that so far, the journey north has been colder than the weather he experienced in Antarctica. The miles have been harder so far as well, with large areas of open water and giant ice fields impeding their progress. As a result, the team has not covered a lot of mileage so far, and negative drift has worked to deprive them of some of the miles they have achieved.

If successful in reaching the North Pole, Eric will be two-thirds of the way to his goal. He plans to head to Everest in the fall, and a successful summit there would make him the first person to ever reach the “three poles” in a single calendar year.