Sixteen-year old Parker Liautaud makes second attempt to ski the North Pole

Posted By: The Ski Channel on March 29, 2011 9:38 am

16 year old Parker Liautaud, the youngest polar explorer in history, will embark on his second attempt to ski to the North Pole on April 2nd from a floating ice base near the archipelago of Svalbard, Norway.  On his first expedition to the North Pole in April 2010, Parker became close to his goal to be the youngest explorer in history to reach the North Pole and made it closer than any other team on the ice at the time. Unfortunately, due to atrocious weather conditions including zero visibility, heavy drifts and strong winds, described by NASA as ‘the worst since records began,’ Parker was forced to be evacuated only 15 miles from the pole.

Parker will begin his latest journey as an ambassador to the One Young World.  He became a One Young World ambassador after attending the inaugural summit in London in February 2010.  The summit drew 823 young leaders from 112 countries who were joined by Counsellors such as Kofi Annan, Bob Geldof and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Second Annual One Young World Summit will be held in Zurich, Switzerland on 1st – 4th September 2011 and will gather over 1,600 under 25s from every country worldwide.

Parker said: “One Young World provides a unique opportunity for young leaders to share their visions, ideas and to have their voice heard on global issues that matter. I am thrilled to be the first One Young World Explorer and will draw attention to the need for government action to address climate change.”

David Jones, co-founder of One Young World and global CEO of Havas, said: “Parker is an inspiring example of the leadership quality that One Young World ambassadors represent. His is an inspiring mission to help communicate the environmental challenges facing the polar-regions and build international support for action against climate change. We are proud to have Parker as the first One Young World Explorer and wish him every success on his challenging expedition. We’ll be following him every step of the way online.”

For his 2011 mission, Parker will attempt to travel the 120 km from his start-point to the North Pole. Alongside his teammate, arctic explorer Doug Stoup, Parker will be one of the only teams collecting scientific data on the Arctic Ocean whilst pushing towards the pole.

The team will work on new scientific experiments, collecting snow and ice thickness measurements as part of ongoing climate change research at the University of Alberta, Canada.

He will be embarking on his journey as the first One Young World Explorer and his mission supports the One Young World resolution on the environment that calls for international legislative action to ensure carbon emissions reduction targets are both agreed and met by 2020.

Even cable TV’s adventure man and the UK’s Chief Scout, Bear Grylls, is a supporter and fan.  “A huge challenge and a huge ambition but such endeavours bring out the best in us. I so admire Parker’s dedication and drive and I know what can be achieved when a project has one’s whole heart and soul in it. I fully support Parker’s determination to bring this important message of climate change to world leaders.”

In 2010, Parker set his goal to become the youngest person to ski to the North Pole when he launched his organisation, The Last Degree, dedicated to inspiring, informing and engaging young people in a dialogue on environmental issues facing the polar regions.

The extraordinarily high temperatures and open water that prevented Parker completing his first mission highlight the damaging effects of climate change and this remains the focus of his second attempt in 2011.

Throughout his new mission, Parker is keen to communicate his message about climate change and will be sending regular updates of his journey from the arctic via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in addition to the expedition’s website.

Surely to be an incredible adventure, It’s impossible not to cheer for this young man.  Good luck, Parker!


All photos by Parker Liautaud and The Last Degree.  Check out more pics at his flikr page!