Mike Horn and Conquering the Impossible

Posted: March 20, 2013 by Ben Weber in English
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Conquering the Impossible / English / Français / Deutsch / 日本

Mike Horn’s journey around the Arctic Circle is truly inspirational and his book Conquering the Impossible, the story of this 12,000 mile (around 18,000km) journey is superb. Even if one doesn’t have plans of going to the North Pole, I would definitely recommend reading this.

Mike, with relatively little experience in the Arctic environment, set about in 2002 on this journey that would take him 27 months to complete; sailing against currents and winds to get to Greenland; going through the permanent pitch black night of the Arctic winter in northern Canada, struggling through temperatures reaching as low as -68C (-92F)(!!), coming face to face with polar bears and, in the summer, grizzly bears; falling into freezing water; losing control of his kite and being dragged  miles due to the speed it was going; worked his way through a massive amount of Russian bureaucracy and finally making it across Siberia (a large part through winter)… At the same time as this, meeting a vast array of generous and fantastic people who helped him on his way. Mike really reached the limits of what an adventure explorer could face., motivated himself to get past these boundaries and go through the environments in the winter, which nobody had gone before – for the simple reason that they would die. Incredible.

With our own plans of this expedition, reading about Mike’s journey is first of all very educational and then also extremely encouraging. The sponsorship; the equipment used, the plans made, the thought processes behind decisions, all interesting to see and useful for us to take into consideration. Though we will have our polar training in just less than a year, it was fascinating reading about Mike’s experiences with polar bears, and the understanding and experiences he gained through speaking with Inuit peoples and then face-to-face with them. He talked about how you can tell what mood the bear is in by just looking at the tracks; how wide they are and what angles they are going in – essential in being able to gauge how to react to it if you were to actually come close to it… the details he provides of his adventures throughout the book make for a really riveting read.

All extremely absorbing and keep the pages flicking by, and I would highly recommend it!

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