Everything from how to survive in temperatures down to -40'C (at that temperature vodka freezes as does the moisture inside your nostrils!)... oh, and how could I forget - 18mths before the expedition we'd never been cross country skiing so that was as good a time than ever to learn!Any way you look at it your expedition seems like sheer madness!
Many outsiders look at us as though we're completely bonkers. Often they don't understand that years (for this expedition it was 3 years full time commitment) goes into putting these big expeditions together. These expeditions are 95% planning, 5% execution.What were your main concerns going in?
Crevasses, freezing to death, frostbite (dealing with the pain would've been manageable... it's losing fingers and toes that we were more worried about)... but more realistically: dealing with the very real possibility of failure.You guys are no strangers to tough challenges, having kayaked to New Zealand in 2007/08. Are you born an adventurer (or sucker for punishment?), or can you learn to overcome constant mental and physical hardship?
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. The whole thing about adventure is that it's an activity with an unknown outcome, so each day you're having to constantly adapt and deal with the cards you're dealt.We saw some pretty intense photos of your injuries pop up on Facebook during the expedition. What were some of the worst you had to endure?
I had a nasty skin infection absolutely decimate my groin! Very ugly...and I promise I won't let you have to read anymore than that. The hunger was also completely overwhelming. Over the 89 days, we lost an incredible 55kg of weight between us.
What did you miss the most when crossing the ice?
Without a doubt, my beautiful fiancé - Mia, who I was lucky enough to marry 1mth after getting back from Antarctica. For Jonesy, it was a nice big steak.How much did the 'no support' factor play on the mind?
Massively. THAT was the big challenge. in the past 12years 5 strong teams had all tried to be the first expedition to ski from the coast of Antarctica to the south pole and back unsupported.Did you ever venture out of your sleeping bag and into minus 40 degree temps at night? What about going to the toilet??
In Antarctica during summer it was 24hour sunlight.. and yes we had to pop outside (very quickly) to go to the toilet. There's something called the 30 rule: when it's minus 30 degree's and there's 30km/hr of wind any exposed flesh will get frostbite within 30 seconds. So that means there's one rule when you go to the toilet is that it has to be QUICK!Teamwork is vital in such extreme conditions, did the friendship get tested?
Absolutely. We had some massive fights out there...often over stupid little things which I think are more of a reflection of the stress of the situation (rather than actually hating each others guts!).
How and why did you put on so much weight before the expedition?
Simple math. We could only afford to drag in our sleds an average of 6000 calories/ day (that's about 12 Big Macs!), but we were expecting to burn an incredible 10,000 calories per day. So our burger deficit index was sitting at about 8 Big Macs each day. That energy had to come from somewhere, and that 'somewhere' was the pre-expedition bulking up that we did.Skiing 2275kms over 89 days isn’t your average way to lose weight. Next time, would you consider something a little less extreme?
It's much easier not to put it on in the first place!Does Antarctica test you more physically or mentally?
The two are very closely tied to each other. it's hard to separate the two. Having said that, by the end of the expedition, our bodies had nothing left of them and it was our minds that kept us going. In order to get deeper insight about these two, pick up a copy of our new book, Extreme South.In 5 words, sum up your ‘Crossing the Ice’ adventure.
Toughest expedition I've ever done.You have successfully ventured to one of the most inhospitable place on earth and back unassisted. How are you going to top that?
Jonesy and I have always believed that adventure is relative-it can happen in all aspects of your life. My next adventure excites me (and scares me) more than Antarctica ever did...Mia and I expecting our first baby at the end of November. I can't wait.Extreme South is the tell all book about the expedition which is available in all good bookstores around Australia. RRP $34.95