The Three Poles

South Pole, North Pole, and Everest (the third pole)

Explore the Three Poles

The Three Poles — 

The Three Poles — 

The Three Poles — 

The Three Poles

When originally planning his Seven Summits schedule and routing...

... Max had thought it would make sense to combine his trip to Antarctica to climb Vinson Massif with a ‘last-degree’ journey to the South Pole. By that same token, why not also pay a similar visit to the North Pole? Especially since both expeditions would provide Max with invaluable cold-weather experience before attempting Everest.

Now, if you're wondering what ‘last-degree’ stands for: our planet is divided into lines of latitude and longitude: the equator lies at 0° of latitude and the poles at 90°, either North (N90) or South (S90). A degree is therefore a measure of distance, equal to 60 nautical miles, about 111 km.

The North Pole is situated in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, where the sea ice is two to three metres thick during the winter months. Unlike its southern counterpart, which happens to lie on the continent of Antarctica, N90 is a constantly changing, imaginary point at the surface of the ice sheet. Both poles are cold and desolate places, with permanent sunlight during the summer months, none whatsoever during the winter months and, accordingly, no assigned time zone.

On May 15, 2006

... having made it to Everest and completed his Seven Summits, Max quickly embarked on another daunting project: the Three Poles

South Pole, North Pole, and, Everest being considered as Earth’s third Pole, Max already had that box checked.

This time however, his journey to the poles would not be a relatively simple one-week trek from 89° to 90°. Rather, it would be an all-the-way expedition where he’d start at the coast (of Northern Canada for N90 and the Hercules Inlet in Antarctica for S90), and pull his sled all the way to the tips of our planet, unassisted. Unlike a last-degree trip, this is a different beast altogether, requiring considerable cold-weather skills and immense mental strength.

In fact, my 57-day journey to the North Pole in 2009 was undoubtedly tougher and more dangerous than the Everest climb three years earlier. Without a doubt, it also proved more rewarding: I was now the 8th person ever to achieve the Explorers Grand Slam (an elite group who'd achieved the North and South Poles, as well as climb the Seven Summits)

Explorers Grand Slam


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