Saturday, June 22, 2013
Ben Saunders: Youngest person to ski to the North Pole
Ben Saunders is a man with massive determination and will. In this TED talk he tells his brave story of his expedition on skis to the North Pole.
His first attempt was brought to an end early by bad conditions and low supplies. This gave him an overwhelming sense of defeat, and he was crushed. He spent the next couple years preparing to go again, this time from Russia, to the Pole, and ending in Canada. After some radical new preparations he started his journey at the tip of Russia with only some skis and two sleds for supplies. He faced many challenges on his way to the pole, such as drifting ice and open water. He made it to the Pole, but unfortunately didn't make it to Canada. Conditions were simply too dangerous and even getting him rescued was difficult thanks to massive chunks of ice everywhere. Ben isn't completely satisfied yet though, he's already planning to ski to the South Pole and back, something that's never been accomplished so far.
I really enjoyed this TED talk. It was really exciting to listen to him speak about his adventures. It's always cool to imagine yourself in that kind of situation, although I don't think I'd be able to come close to what he's accomplished. I was also really surprised by some of the innovations he made to deal with changing conditions. For example, he had a heavy duty wet suit so that he could swim across open arctic water if need be. This makes me think of just how amazing humans are, and what their limits are. Obviously Ben was coming pretty close to the limit, but as technology becomes better and better, it will be interesting to see what impact it will have. Maybe someday it will be common to go to the North Pole.
For now though what Ben has done is an amazing feat and I recommend this TED talk to anyone who wants to listen to a great story of will, determination, and bravery.