The Push: A South Pole Adventure

Posted By: The Ski Channel on December 20, 2011 12:34 am


On January 17, 2012, for the first time in history, two adaptive athletes will push the limits and themselves to the most inhospitable place on the planet – the South Pole. The chosen date marks the 100-year anniversary when Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova expedition reached the earth’s most remote spot.

The expedition includes two adaptive athletes, John Davis, a two-time Paralympic gold medalist, and Grant Korgan, a world-class kayaker and adventurer. Both Davis and Korgan are athletes with spinal cord injuries.The team is led by Doug Stoup, today’s most traveled explorer to the North and South Poles, along with seasoned guide Tal Fletcher.

Davis and Korgan will demonstrate through this expedition – as they literally push themselves 100 miles across the frozen Antarctic landscape – the capacity of the human spirit to overcome life-altering injuries.  And, perhaps more importantly, the team hopes to inspire people in all walks of life to help others achieve the seemingly insurmountable, to push their own everyday limits, and to live up to their ultimate potential.

The team is conditioning themselves to the harsh reality they will face in Antarctica. A training expedition to Spitzbergen, Norway was just completed in May, where the team put their systems and equipment to the test. This early trip provided the opportunity to evaluate equipment and better understand the myriad challenges they will face. After summer dry-land training in Lake Tahoe and the deserts of Nevada, they head to South America to again test their endurance and equipment in harsh conditions. The team must be able to travel 10 to 12 miles each day, in any and all weather conditions, once they land on the frozen continent. These “conditioning expeditions” are vital to ensure the team is ready for the coldest and harshest weather known on the planet.

Using custom-designed Nordic skis and sheer upper body strength, Davis and Korgan will break barriers and presumed limitations to reach the Pole. The specially crafted sit-skis are expected to revolutionize the way parathletes participate in winter sports. The gear is as important as their technique, endurance and determination.

The emulation of lessons and strategies used 100 years ago by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and Falcon Scott  - the two historic leaders during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration – is a key element to this modern day story. Amundsen used tools and innovations that helped him travel faster and leaner and reach the South Pole just ahead of Scott’s team. The philosophy of Amundsen will guide them as they celebrate the accomplishments of both expeditions.

“The Push” is in support of the High Fives Foundation, a non-profit working to help winter athletes suffering life-altering injuries get back to their active lifestyle, and ideally, get back to their sport.

The Push – A South Pole Adventure from p2sp on Vimeo.