15-year-old attempts to be youngest person to ski to the North Pole

Posted By: The Ski Channel on April 8, 2010 6:05 am

Parker Liautaud is passionate. He is passionate about skiing, and passionate about the environment. Put the two together, and you have 15-year-old Parker attempting to be the youngest person to ever ski to the North Pole. He’s doing it to bring greater awareness to the urgent environmental issues facing the arctic.

He’s blogging about his adventures, and recently he reported some setbacks. He’s fallen into icy water, gotten lost, had technical problems with skis etc. This is from his April 5th blog:

“Today we had whiteout conditions for most of the day – we were just tripping all over the place. In the beginning we had a fairly rough start, we only had one nautical mile done in the first pole because we ran into a bunch of pressure ridges and didn’t know where we were going. The ski gets caught in something because you can’t see it in the white out.It was difficult to keep going. It’s also difficult how repetitive it gets. You wouldn’t imagine it, but since you’re doing the same thing nine hours a day, you have to think of stuff to keep yourself busy. I let my mind drift, but the problem is I also have to stay focused on what I’m doing, or I’ll catch a ski and fall over, or my sled can roll on me if I’m going down a pressure ridge.

The main thing that’s keeping me going is the visualization of reaching the Pole. It’s difficult to do the same thing over and over again, but when I think of the ultimate goal and the ultimate aim, it keeps me going.”

Yesterday, April 6th was an even more challenging day, albeit more exciting for Parker:

“Today was an exciting and incredible day…despite also being depressing and degrading.

White out conditions made the going difficult, then there was the breaking through the thin ice twice, filling his boots with the icy water.

At the moment I’m sitting in my sleeping bag with a bottle of hot water in the lining of my boot … which is in my sleeping bag. Whenever we need to dry something out we stick it in the sleeping bag. I have half my sled in my bag to warm it by body heat.

There was a lot of open water today. It really shows what’s been going on in the Arctic – it’s falling apart. Right now we’re camping on this patch of old ice, but all around us is open water, broken and thin ice. To our north there’s a massive pan of very thin ice. Everything is freshly frozen, if not open.”

Parker is not doing this alone. He’s going with Doug Stoup, who has guided teams across both the Arctic and Antarctica for 10 years. We wish them safety and the best of luck as they continue their arduous journey.