Yesterday, I posted a story that contained tips for skiing to the North Pole, that were sent our way by Eric Larsen and Ryan Waters, courtesy of ExWeb. That story should have been more properly titled as "expedition tips," since much of what those two men shared could be easily applied to a variety of expeditions to many parts of the world, and not just the Arctic. Today, we have more tips from another veteran polar explorer, as Eric Phillips, fresh off his own Arctic expedition, shares some wisdom for anyone planning a polar adventure of their own. Once again however, most of these tips are good rules to live by, no matter where your expeditions take you.
Speaking once again to Explorers Web, Phillips had plenty of insights to share for those considering an expedition of some kind into the field. His tips include the following:
I would urge you to read the full story here, as Eric goes into more detail on each of these five points. That said, it is also easy to get the gist of what he is saying from this outline as well. There has been a common theme in these two articles over the past couple of days, and it is a decided emphasis on the importance of preparation and discipline before you even begin the journey.
1. Study the formula that maximises your chances of success.
2. Don't trust untested gear on a long expedition.
3. The ability to maintain, improvise and repair stuff is crucial.
4. Operate your trip with military precision.
5. Use a qualified guide if you don't have the knowledge and skill.
In the case of all three explorers who have offered advice, they have seldom mentioned that you need to train hard to be physically ready, although that is obviously important. Instead, they have all discussed the best ways to prepare yourself for the expedition in other ways, such as knowing the route and environmental conditions, testing your gear before setting out, and anticipating potential problems, and working out solutions ahead of time. There is a lot of valuable wisdom to be taken from what these three men have to say, and it comes from a wealth of experience on adventures that have taken them to the far-flung corners of the globe.
If you're planning an expedition of your own, and like most of us, you lack the logistical experience that these explorers have garnered from years in the field, you can take a lot away from this. Many expeditions are sunk before they ever get underway, thanks in no small part due to poor planning and preparation. The better prepared you are before setting out, the easier it will be to deal with the challenges that arise on the trail later on.
Great work out of ExWeb in sharing these short, but very insightful articles.