As we come to the end of our first year as Team Fram, Thorsten and I wanted to reflect on our progress, and how far we’ve come. We’ve had some amazing experiences, met some fantastic people who’ve supported us with advice and encouragement, and grown to feel like part of a community. We feel very lucky to have got as far as we have, and are really excited about the year to come.
When going on an adventure, we always put ourselves at risk. There are a thousand ways things can go south when you’re outside and you can only do your best to be prepared for them, never completely eliminate all risks. A good preparation also needs to take into account where you are going and what you are doing. There are different challenges for the human body in hot deserts, in high altitudes or in jungles. Of course, for us aspiring Polar explorers, knowing about the challenges of cold weather and snow is most important.
One of the things we looked at in some detail early on in our polar training was our food. Making sure that you get enough calories in, and a good selection of fats, carbs and protein to boot, is a major challenge when you’re trying to cut weight down as much as possible. You need to find food that’s hugely calorie dense, as you’re aiming to eat up to 6000 calories every day! Add to that wanting something you can face eating a for weeks at a time, and it becomes pretty tricky.
On this day 131 years ago, November 24th 1887, a newspaper in Kristiania, as Oslo was called back then, publicised a daring plan, proposed by a young scientist, to cross the Island of Greenland from coast to coast the following year. The man’s name was Fridtjof Nansen and he would go on to become arguably the most influential figure in the history of Polar explorationn
In this week’s gear highlight, we are going to cover our mid layers used for skiing and camping. Usually, while skiing, we will not wear that many insulated layers, likely only a fleece jacket over our merino base layers. That’s because we want to avoid sweating too much at all costs, since sweating means you have to dry your base layers. After pitching the tent, the mid layers become a different story, though. We are usually throwing on at least a heavy wool jumper and maybe insulated trousers, because we won’t be moving that much, and thus will freeze more easily.
The polar exploration community is currently buzzing with news about Colin O’Brady and Loius Rudd. Both are taking on a challenge nobody has successfully completed, yet: a solo traverse of Antarctica via the South Pole, unsupported, and using only human power. You can follow Lou Rudd’s journey on his sponsor’s website, and Colin O’Brady on his Instagram or his own website. These expeditions stand out because they are one of the last supposed firsts out there to achieve for polar explorers. Since the first humans set foot on the Antarctic continent explorers have always found ways to add more challenges to their journey or make it unique in some way or another to qualify for that precious “first” label. Let’s take a look at some notable firsts in Antarctic history.
Today we are starting a weekly series to present the kit we are going to use on our Hardangervidda crossing at the end of January. Each week’s post will deal with one (more or less) well-defined category of gear. We will explain why we are bringing it, and why we are choosing that particular brand, if there is a specific reason. This weeks post will deal with base layers and socks.
For the last year, I’ve been working with a fantastic new organisation, MY Great Escape. We support women who’ve survived abusive relationships to have adventures, with the aim of offering them a physical challenge and space in the outdoors to heal and build their confidence and self esteem.
Tyre pulling is today firmly established as the way to train all year for polar expeditions where you are pulling a pulk. Three months before our Hardangervidda crossing, I have started training with tyres myself. I may be a bit late, to be honest, but this will still be valuable exercise for me. There are many blog posts out there on the basics of tyre pulling. The best I know is The fine art of pulling rubber tyres by Børge Ousland. You may as well learn the basics from the best instead of from me, so I am going to focus on the things I learned on top of that article.
Expedition Foods are based in the UK and are providing a wide-range of freeze-dried meals. They were kind enough to provide us with free samples, and I finally got around actually eating it. Huge thanks to Mary from Expedition Foods, who got us the samples, and sorry it took us so long to give feedback!