Explorer Ben Saunders gears up for North Pole speed run

This fantastic video provides a glimpse into the equipment and preparation necessary for a solo speed run to the North Pole. Ben Saunders, a world class athlete and explorer, will attempt to break the North Pole speed record on his 487 mile journey from Cape Discovery in Canada. No stranger to the pole, Saunders has seen his share of polar expeditions and will be setting out completely unsupported. He was the last solo explorer to reach the pole in 2004 from Russia.

Aside from polar bears and -50 degree weather, Ben must contend with the most dire of hurdles – equipment failure. His last two expeditions to the top of our world were stymied by such setbacks. For this trip, called North 3, he has provided this video to showcase the gear and tech that goes into a solo polar exploration. Shotguns for bear defense and custom made meals for snacking are two of the gear staples for this polar adventurer.

From bensaunders.com:

Ben Saunders is a professional endurance athlete and a pioneering polar explorer. He is one of three in history to ski solo to the North Pole (from the Russian side of the Arctic Ocean, in 2004), the youngest to do so by more than ten years, and holds the record for the longest solo Arctic journey by a Briton (1,032km). Ben is an Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust and a Patron of the British Schools Exploring Society, and is an acclaimed public speaker (the TED conference called him a ‘master storyteller’). He has been a global brand ambassador for Land Rover since 2009.

Ben Saunders – North 3 from Ben Saunders on Vimeo.

Ben Saunders – Living on Ice from Ben Saunders on Vimeo.

Nail a hog from on high

Mertzon, TX is taking hunting to a new level. If law proposed by Rep. Sid Miller is passed, you’ll be able to jump on a helicopter and take pot shots at wild hogs … if you have a permit.

Lock and load! Grab a rifle or shotgun, set the rotors in motion.

These hogs have been causing plenty of property damage across Texas. Not only are they tearing up crops on farms, they’re now uprooting golf course turf and disrupting the lives of suburban Texans. An estimated 2 million wild hogs cause $52 million in crop damage, so there is a serious side to this story.

If the new law can make it through the legislature, it will be the first of its kind in the United States. A handful of other states (such as Alaska) do allow aerial hunting, but only to keep predators, like wolves, at bay. Pigs, it seems, don’t have any natural predators. They can even kick some coyote ass.

So, death will have to come from above. A lot of people are doing this.

Lat year, 1,100 hog-killing permits were issued, up from 201 in 2000. If Texans can start busting caps from on high, the number could go higher. Of course, there’s always someone with a gripe. Jay Smith, owner of Smith Helicopters in Cotulla, TX, says, “If they’re going to open up to where you can do this and anybody who’s got a helicopter can go off to an old boy’s place and hunt, that’s going to be bad.” Hell, the rancher’s dog might get iced!

Fortunately, Rep. Miller has promised that the hunting would be closely regulated (bound to piss off the gun nuts), though he hasn’t put together many of the details yet.

Once the wrinkles are ironed out, book that trip to Texas. You’ve always wanted to go, and now you have the perfect reason: hittin’ hogs from a helicopter!

[Via Pocono Record, photo via Beard Papa]