“The bold adventurer succeeds the best” – Ovid
To successfully make the trek across the 89th degree to the South Pole, I need a lot more
than just physical training and cardiovascular fitness. I will need to think like an
explorer and act like an adventurer, as the success of the journey is also reliant upon the
skills I will have learnt and my ability to be a good team member. As I am now several
months into my training, it is now appropriate to begin understanding the fundamental
skills of polar shelter, teamwork dynamics, gear management and cooking.
The most vital asset for my polar expedition is the tent, serving as my ultimate tool for
survival by providing crucial shelter against the harsh elements. I will be using a
Hilleburg K4, the standard tent for polar expeditions due to its exceptional durability,
impressive stability in strong winds, spacious interior, and most importantly, simplicity.
During my first training session, I had emphasized how I had never been camping. It
was daunting to think about all the information I had to absorb, as every element, every
piece of information, would be critical to ensuring the tent was put up as swiftly as
possible to get out of the harsh conditions. Our session was designed to simulate two
team members working together to pitch the tent as quickly as possible. I had to
familiarize myself with the different parts of the tent and learn the steps to
systematically unpack the tent, put the parts together, pitch the tent and peg it down.
We did this multiple times until I was comfortable to not only do it by myself, but
alongside a team member. Assigning roles was one way to keep things simple and
organized. Subsequent sessions will centre around reinforcing and repeating key
components, a critical approach as I approach the South Pole trek, to ensure that the
information and skills are firmly ingrained.
In my next blog, I will dive into the setting up the gas stove and my expedition to
Perisher to put my training to use – in the cold.