In a week’s time, Mike Horn will be setting sail to start the longest leg of his Pole2Pole expedition yet, the crossing of the Antarctica continent. By ski and with the help of a kite weather permitting, Mike will cover roughly over 7,000 km until he reaches the other side of the continent, the South Pole only being the halfway stop.
Aboard his sailing vessel Pangaea, Mike and his crew will be sailing south from the Waterfront in Cape Town where they have spent the last two months working on Pole2Pole’s first socio-environmental project and preparing Mike’s equipment for the big departure. In search of the perfect boot for Mike’s crossing, he collaborated with the Swiss ski boot manufacturer Dahu, who assisted Mike in designing a multifunctional boot that will give him the flexibility to trek and as soon as the wind picks up, the rigidity to kite.
“I approached Dahu to develop the right shoe for an expedition like this. To be able to go from skiing or walking mode into hiking mode without changing shoes and losing a lot of time.” Mike said, “so a prototype was developed for me to be able to save time on my expedition, and time, is life.”
After a two-week sail across the Southern Ocean from South Africa to Antarctica, Mike’s crew will drop him off and pick him up on the other side of the continent once his crossing is complete. Mike estimates his crossing to take from three to four months, depending on the weather conditions.
Pole2Pole’s first socio-environmental project
During the first two weeks of October, Mike welcomed 10 enthusiastic, international Young Explorers from his previous expedition Pangaea to Cape Town to implement and execute the first Pole2Pole project: The Shark Project.
The aim of this project was to banish the negative stereotypes associated with sharks, raise awareness on the global issues our oceans are currently going through, and to engage and connect with existing local South African programs. The team collaborated with the Shark Spotters and the Two Oceans Aquarium, together they successfully managed to tag and release 15 seven gill sharks contributing to long-term data.
The second aspect of the project was in collaboration with the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Together, they engaged with local programmes, like Grassroot Soccer and Waves for Change, which empower youth from local townships through beach cleanups, surfing, playing soccer, tree painting and educational programmes.
Crossing complete, Mike will navigate the Pacific through the islands of Oceania to Asia, where he will travel parts of New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea. Once arrived in Asia onboard Pangaea, a further overland journey will lead Horn to the summit of virgin peaks in India, followed by a journey through the tundra in Kamchatka, before setting sails for the great north. The extreme athlete will then attempt another crossing, this time of the Arctic via the North Pole. Following this, Mike will cross over the world’s largest island, Greenland, after which he will conclude his adventure by navigating back to his point of departure, Monaco.
On his journey from the North to the South Pole, Mike and his team will be implementing more social and environmental projects, sharing every step of his journey on social media.