Polar explorer Eric Larsen shares his greatest adventures.
2004 John Beargrease sleddog marathon
This is a 400-mile sleddog race along Lake Superior. If you are a dog musher (which Larsen has been doing since 1994) this is an iconic event—it’s the longest continuous race in the lower 48. Larsen raced the B-team dogs of the musher he worked for (who, with the A-team did the shorter, 120-mile race).
2006 Summer expedition to the North Pole
Nobody has pulled this off before. After three years of planning and a failed attempt in 2005, Larsen and partner Lonnie Dupre made it happen. It took 62 days to travel from Cape Discovery, Ellesmere Island, to the top of the world, with a month-long stint during which rescue wasn’t an option because they were out of reach of helicopters and the ice made landing a plane impossible. The pair were picked up at the pole by a Russian Icebreaker with high end paying clients so the trip back was pretty cushy.
2008 Expedition to the South Pole
Larsen managed to reach the antipode of his 2006 trip when he was working as a guide for Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE) taking clients over 600 miles along the Messner Route starting on the Filchner Ice Shelf. “It was an intense but enjoyable experience,” he says. “It was challanging but very rewarding and this trip reinstalled an interest in guiding after an eight-year hiatus. I realized then that guiding can be just as educational as adventure.”
2010 Save the Poles Expedition
Larsen became the first person to reach both poles and climb Everest in a 365-day span (actually 330 days). To accomplish this feat, he spent nearly six months in a tent in some of the coldest places on earth. These were each fully human powered expeditions. He departed once more from Ellesmere Island and made it to the North Pole in 51 days. He then started from Hercules Inlet on Antarctica’s Ronne Ice Shelf to reach the South Pole in 48 days. Finally, it took him 45 days to climb Everest via the South Col route in the tricky fall post-monsoon season.
2012 riding a bike to the South Pole
While this bike trip did not make it to the pole itself, Larsen says it reinforced the importance of trying for him. “Of having an idea, setting a goal and being undaunted while working towards achieving that goal instead of being defeated by doubt,” he says.
2014 Last North Unsupported North Pole Expedition
The 2014 Last North Unsupported North Pole Expedition is important because it’s most likely the last ever land-to-pole unsupported human powered trip, due to climate change breaking up Arctic ice. It took Eric 53 days of skiing, snowshoeing and sometimes swimming to make it.