Mountain Bike Coast to Coast Across Scotland

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Wow, just back from another great challenge: mountain biking Coast to Coast (North Sea to the Atlantic Ocean) across the Highlands and mountains of Scotland.  Marc-Antoine and I met our team (predetermined) at the train station in Aberdeen Saturday morning 22nd August at 11AM. Our guide Mark Cox from Wilderness Scotland got us sorted out and shuttled the group just out of town to a lighthouse with a huge redfoghorn’ above the lapping waves of the North Sea to begin our adventure across hills and mountains, single track and double, bog, river beds, glacier valleys, rock, root, sand and shrub, and some connecting roads, to the most western point on the mainland of Britain; Ardnamurchan Point. We rode about 9 hours a day over 6  days and traversed approximately 380 km over hill and mountainous terrain.

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Day 1 we followed the Royal Deeside, the route of the old railway line built for Queen Victoria. We then climbed up into the hills and descended some decent singletrack to Glen Tanar, and on to the village of Dinnet just inside Cairngorms National Park (64km).

Day 2 we started on some cool singletrack on the Deeside through birch and pine forest. From Ballater, the route climbs into the heart of the Cairngorms and through Glens Gairn and Avon. This is beautiful wild country and we continued climbing to Tomintoul, the highest village in the Highlands (60km).

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Day 3 was my absolute favorite but most difficult day of our trip. We started in rain climbing up some back roads winding up to pastures and grazing fields to a rocky snaking river bed that we continually crossed that led to a steep double track that rose to a hilltop with stunning views of rolling hills and long valleys. We dropped down to another river crossing, and then spent the next few hours climbing, dropping or flat out on the best singletrack I have ever been on. It was rocky surrounded by Heather, earth and roots choked by shrubs, it snaked and surprized you at every turn. We crossed barren exposed countryside and beautiful ancient forests to the village of Newtonmore (80km).

Day 4 we followed an old military road into Laggan Wolftrax – one of Scotland’s best mountain bike trail centres. Next we headed up into a remote glacial valley which passes through the heart of the mountains on double and single track which leads us into the West Highlands. We spend the night in Spean Bridge (64km).

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Day 5 we followed a man-made canal to Fort William where we took a short ferry ride across Loch Linnhe and arrived on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula. We then headed south and west to ride through (what they call) “one of the Highlands finest glens – remote, wild and dramatic.” We followed the shores of Loch Shiel to the historic village of Glenfinnan and then charged up and down a dirt road bordering this narrow 30 km long loch to a ‘middle of nowhere’ wharf where a most cool ferry piloted by an even more cool captain suddenly arrived to collect 9 weary but happy ‘crazy’ bikers. We motored up the extraordinarily beautiful Loch Shiel to Acharacle (60km).

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Day 6 was another truly awesome day as we headed past a sandy inlet straight up double tract into the hills to some of the most challenging singletrack of the entire trip. We had breathtaking views of Skye, Outer Hebrides and the Small Isles. It was a bit cold, windy and rainy but that added substance and character to the remarkable exposed and astonishing landscape. I was in ‘seventh heaven’ on those rocky, slanted, wet singletracks cramped full of scrubs and low lying bushes. The views of ocean and layered distant hills, the smell of pure misty air, the thrilled apprehension of the gang mountain biking on the real stuff we had come all this way for, was pure unabashed delight.
Finally we pushed on following the coastline and eventually went inland climbing and descending through some villages on roads to an epic finish at Ardnamurchan Point – the most westerly point on the UK mainland (52km).

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A vital part of any challenge or expedition is the team – or more specifically the team dynamic. Over the years I have experienced many different types of teams and of duration from 2 to 65 days. When a team gels it is magic. It is fun, inspiring, and productive.

Mostly unknown to each other, diversified from New Zealand to Spain to Canada, we rolled right into the spirit from day 1. We knew ‘why we were there’ and that we were going to have a great time. We certainly did and now it is called thewhisky coast to coast mtb run.

I came across a poster in the bathroom of my hotel in Inverness that read: ‘LIFE IS NOT ABOUT WAITING FOR THE STORM TO PASS, IT IS ABOUT LEARNING TO DANCE IN THE RAIN.’ Sounds like an excellent way to live your life.

Team: Guide and mentor extraordinaire Mark Cox; Mark Leadbitter, New Zealand; Marc-Antoine Laporte, Canada; Shelagh Munday, Scotland; Jose Luis Fernandez, Spain; Max Cadonna, Italy; William Neville, England; Craig Little, Scotland; Theodore Fairhurst, Canada.

Back-up, bike repair and support: Paul McCaffrey

Wilderness Scotland organized and delivered an excellent program managing logistics to a tee. Cheers.

Mountain Bike Coast to coast Scotland

Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland
Mountain Biking across Scotland coast to coast
Mountain Biking across Scotland coast to coast
Mountain Biking across Scotland coast to coast
Mountain Biking across Scotland coast to coast
Mountain Biking across Scotland coast to coast
Mountain Biking across Scotland coast to coast
Mountain Biking across Scotland coast to coast
Mountain Biking across Scotland coast to coast

Training for Coast to Coast Scotland

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Leaving for Scotland in 12 days to mountain bike Coast to Coast from Aberdeen in the east to Ardnamurchan (Aberdeen) in the west. I expect it to be an absolute epic week of superb riding of 350km of awesome ascent and descent across the mountains and highland of Northern Scotland

 In preparation yesterday I rode 60 +/-km. biking hills @ 16 Island Lake, Pine Hill, Harrington Lake and Lost River. Beautiful old barn, Canada Geese enjoying shade, rapids of Lost River.

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Today Saturday beautiful morning to wake up to on 16 Island Lake going mountain biking to support culture for the 6th Annual Lac-des-Seize-Iles Bike Tour. New bike trail near Montfort. Sweet

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Skunk-Chuck Wagon-50km Biking

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Fabulous 50 km road biking @ Lost River, St-Michel de Wentworth, Harrington and a ‘skunk family’ I had to move quickly to ‘GET OUT OF THE WAY…’

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Road & Mountain Biking Today

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48km hilly road biking today with Marc-Antoine Laporte at St-Michel de Wentworth followed by 2 hours of mountain biking with Hal Myers preparing for Coast to Coast Mountain Biking across Scotland in August. Laurentians, Quebec.

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Great mountain biking yesterday

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Another fabulous day of mountain biking in mud, hills, deep bush and streams in the Laurentians.
Pretty rough terrain climbing and descending trails over trees, rocks, roots, tall grass, streams and every other obstacle.
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Garifuna International Film Festival

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Delighted that 2 of my videos are playing at Garifuna Film Festival 2015

Mt. Everest ICE FALL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moBJMGNSql4
Kilimanjaro/ Maasai: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFOVUDrdOPw

City of Los Angeles Proclaims May 26 Garifuna International Film Day

Garifuna Film Festival-2015

When an indigenous culture dies out the world loses language, art and a rich history that adds color to the world. Freda Siederoff has been working hard to change that. As a member of the Garifuna Culture she knows all to well the value of intangible heritages. She has chosen film as a medium for communication and expression, giving a voice to a sector of society that many forget about. Out of this desire the Garifuna Internation Film Festival was born.

City of Los Angeles, the film capital of the world Proclaims May 26 Garifuna International Film Day.

Garifuna Film Festival will allow Garifuna as well as all indigenous people and cultures to showcase the art of preserving the Garifuna culture including all indigenous cultures thru film documentaries art ,music and dance screens feature films & short films as well as share and learn from others the art of cultural preservation.

NEPAL I LOVE YOU #1

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from: Camp 4 Collective

To know Nepal is to love her. The majesty of her mountains inspires awe and a reassuring sense of perspective. The grace of her people floods your heart with the buoyant certainty that we are all kin. Together, we need to remind the world that in the wake of Nepal’s recent tragedy, her loveliness remains.

Nepal urgently needs tourism to return, and she needs long-term financial support for reconstruction. For both, the world needs to see beyond the destruction. We hope that you will join us in sharing your own words, images and visions of Nepal’s cultures and landscapes with the hashtag #NEPALiLOVEYOU.

The EXPLORERS Museum

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The Explorers Museum and Tim Lavery shared Irish Seven Summits’s photo.

The explorers museum

Paul and the crew remain at Pheriche for a second day. The following is Paul’s first hand account of the situation from Friday onwards:

“We had been in the icefall almost 70% of the way to camp 1 on 24th and 25th was changed to be a rest day at base camp before our planned move to camp 1 starting at midnight on 26th.

“We were in the food tent on morning of the quake on 25th and I noticed the table starting to move, then a violent movement. I ran outside and the entire Khumbu Glacier was moving violently under my feet. Our camp was directly under the icefall so I stared up at the icefall expecting any danger to come from there. The movement was extraordinary and exaggerated by the fact that we were stood on an active glacier.

“My climbing buddy Teo from Norway screamed at me to turn around and I then saw a wall of snow as high as I could see coming towards our camp at frightening speed. It was a massive avalanche from Pumori triggered by the quake. We just had enough time to dive into the food tent and scurry under the table before the wall of snow and energy hit. Between the quake and the avalanche we didn’t really know what had happened.

“A few minutes later I emerged from the tent and into the realisation that we had just been hit by a massive earthquake. We could see some action down towards the middle of camp and so our Sherpa Pasang grabbed some of our oxygen and went to investigate. I wanted to keep our climbers together for now so we stayed in camp. Some of our Sherpa were in camp 1 & 2 and I knew a handful of people who were up the mountain and at that point all of my worry was for those in the icefall or at camp 1 & 2. I never for a moment thought the tragedy would be less than 50 metres away and in base camp.

“Within minutes a guide was in our camp shouting for people to help carry the injured. I shouted at the team to move and we headed for the medical camp. As we ran through base camp (which is around 1km long) the scale of the devastation became apparent. It was like a tornado zone. Entire camps flattened and personal effects and equipment scattered everywhere. The medical camp somehow survived but everything around it was destroyed.

“The medics were attempting a camp wide triage effort. I saw bodies lying waiting to be covered and a mixture of seriously wounded and walking wounded. It was like a war zone.

“We immediately got to work to help out. Both Sherpa and clients were as one in shouldering the load. I was asked to help carry seriously injured to the IMG camp. The system established was… seriously injures to IMG, walking wounded to HiMex and overflow to Asian Trekking. I was alongside my fellow climbers Teo and the 23 year old from Norway got stuck in without question as we spent hours helping to ferry injures and medical supplies to the key camps.

“At IMG my old guide from Antarctica Greg was in charge and boy did he do an awesome job. I must pay incredible tribute to the medical team and to the IMG, HiMex and Asian Trekking teams who stood tall when everyone needed them. I was never so proud to see the depth of cooperation that took place and the great leadership from Greg, Russell and those who took charge of grim tasks.

“As the day wore on the death toll rose from a half dozen into double figures and eventually to the same level as 2014. The big good news was that everyone at camps 1 & 2 were ok. I cant tell you the relief… Paul, Ellen, Ellis, Alex and our own Sherpa were all ok. I wanted to scream with relief.

“By the time I got back to my camp that evening I was exhausted and emotionally shattered. I wish I could have done more. I wish I could have got there earlier. I cannot find words to describe the heroics performed by the medical team and those charged with organising rescue and triage. I knew some of the people being treated for serious injury and I knew some of the people lying still under the blue plastic covers. I wanted to sit and cry but the danger of the quake was not passed and so we were instructed to put on our helmets and not to sleep so that we could react immediately.

“What followed was the longest night of my life. Every sound caused us to jump. I could still feel movement under my feet. It was not real but it felt real. We knew an aftershock was likely but we had no idea when or how big. I could still see in my mind that wall of snow and energy coming towards us like something from a movie. We were all very scared. I was scared yo death.

“I was lucky. Our team were lucky. We had placed our camp in the right place, by chance and not design. Had we been in last years location we would surely have been wiped out. I have to be honest that there was not much time to contemplate such things at the time. Next morning I went to IMG early to check on my buddy Paul and the docs told me he had just been evacuated and was doing OK. I was so relieved. I could think of nothing else all night but how he was doing. The helicopter evacuations were in full flow at IMG and Greg was coordinating. I tried to keep him amused with some sarcastic banter and I gave him a few Boost bars to keep him fed. It was pathetic really but it was all I could do to help at that moment and he seemed to appreciate it. The death toll was now 15. Our expedition leader Mingma found a body under a crushed tent earlier in the morning. He and his brother Pasang were now helping to load injured onto helicopters.

“Later in the afternoon we had an aftershock. I was in my tent which I had adjusted into a fortress with bags all around the perimeter. The earth shook and Teo ran into my tent. We covered ourselves with the mattress, helmets on and sat in absolute fear waiting to hear if an avalanche would be triggered. It didn’t happen and there was wide relief. But by now were all heavily unsettled. Another long night of sleepless waiting.

“The next morning I spoke to Mingma and Pesang about what our options might be. We agreed that I would go speak to the biggest team on yhe mountain and assess the possibilities. It was a short conversation. The icefall was seriously damaged and it would be unlikely that a safe route could now be found. Also the families of many Sherpa were now homeless and so we were likely to see a massive outflow from base camp as they returned to help rebuild their homes. In short I was told that once our guys got back from high camps that we should pack up and leave. We also heard a report that a bigger shake might be coming. There was no Internet and so everything was unsubstantiated. We had to decide based on rumour and fact. With small avalanches being triggered every few hours the choice seemed clear. We needed to get out of the danger zone and down to safer levels.

“We hugged our sherpa when they finally arrived back from camp 2. It was time to go. I got the team together and Mingma instructed us to pack sleeping bag and warm clothes and that we would be evacuating to Pheriche some 7 hours south.

“I trekked through the devastated base camp for the last time and met my good friend Paul Pottinger who had just been evacuated from Camp 2. I was so very glad to see him. We talked a little about what had happened and vowed to meet again in happier times. I diverted into IMG to see Greg and thank him for his great work. We agreed that we were done with Everest after two years of disasters and I wished him well. As I crossed the heli pad I saw Garreth Maddison standing over the body of his good friend and my heart bled for him. Two seasons of tragedy for him to endure. It was too much. It was unfair. I walked on and out of base camp for the last time with tears in my eyes. This was so unfair. People who just wanted to climb were dead…. at base camp for fuck sake! I was angry. I was hurting. I was selfishly mourning the end of my seven summits project as if that mattered a crap at that moment. But all of the emotion of the previous days was leaking out and I couldn’t help it.

“I am now in the safety of Pheriche and now we sit and wait. The climbing season is most certainly over now. Our next decisions are about how to get home. This country has been shaken to its core. We are all in shock and it will take much time to process it all as well as all that has been seen and cannot be unseen.

“I am so very proud of my teammates for the way they helped those in need. I am in awe at the medical personnel and the teams at IMG, HiMex and Asian Trekking. I pay great tribute to the helicopter pilots who flew in difficult conditions to rescue climbers and evacuate injured. The road ahead is unclear but I hope the response to the Nepalese plight will be resounding and immediate”

The Explorers Museum shared Irish Seven Summits’s photo.
12 hrs ·

Carrying the Explorers Museum pennant No 1, Paul Devaney had set his sights on the final summit of his Seven Summit’s project when disaster struck Nepal last Friday and Saturday. Here is Paul’s first hand account of the events since that moment when the earthquake hit, detailing the avalanche and subsequent emergency situation.

Al Hancock-Avalanche on Annapurna

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A Canadian mountain climber scaling one of the world’s tallest peaks has survived after being caught in an avalanche caused by a powerful earthquake in Nepal.

“You probably heard the news, we had a major, major earthquake today,” Al Hancock, a high-altitude climber, can be heard saying on a voicemail message sent hours after his team was buried by the snow.

‘We made a gallant effort … it just wasn’t meant to be.’– Al Hancock

“It shook here at base camp, we thought the whole mountain was covered in mist, it just went on and on. We’re so lucky.”

Hancock, a 55-year-old climber from Edmonton, has been in Nepal since March. He and a small team had been attempting to reach the summit of Annapurna, in the Himalayas, when a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck the country Saturday.

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The death toll continues to climb and travel remains impossible for many remote parts of Nepal.

In his voicemail, Hancock said the avalanche hit while the team slept, recovering from an unsuccessful attempt on the summit hours earlier.

“No summit. We made a gallant effort … it just wasn’t meant to be,” he said.

“An avalanche hit us, just about buried us in our tents. We had to use knives to cut our way out. It was a tragedy in itself.

“And then after that, two sherpas and I had to do a rescue of a teammate.”

The recording then cuts off,

Hancock’s spokeswoman, Olivia Pilip, says Hancock’s satellite phone likely lost signal during the call, a common occurrence on the mountain. Even so, she says she’s eagerly awaiting another call.

“We definitely do want to hear from him again, just that he is fine,”  she said.

Two team members rescued

Hancock was on Annapurna, the tenth tallest peak in the world, as part of his attempt to climb 14 mountains across the globe — all higher than 8,000 metres.

An experienced climber, Hancock has already scaled the tallest mountains on each of the seven continents, and has twice reached the top of Everest.

Even before the earthquake, Pilip said the Annapurra climb has been a troubled one. Difficult weather has prevented them from reaching the summit. Following the avalanche, two of Hancock’s team members had to be rescued —  a responsibility that fell on Hancock as the team’s leader, she said.

“They had to cut out of their tents, dig themselves out, check on everybody — obviously a lot of chaos.”

The danger of other avalanches triggered by aftershocks meant the team had to move quickly off the mountain.

At this point, Pilip said it is hard to tell if Hancock will make another attempt at the peak when the danger passes. She said his climbing equipment has likely been damaged or lost in the snow. Depending on the circumstances, she’s hoping he might be able to continue his challenge with aid from other climbers.

“It’s not as if they’re going out and racing towards the summit against each other,” she said.

“t’s a very inclusive community, everyone’s there to help each other.”

HELP NEPAL NOW

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NEPAL in trouble. PLEASE HELP

 Avalanche broke off Mt. Pumori (center of photo) that hit the middle of Everest base camp Saturday. 17 dead on mountain. However, the 7.8 earthquake has claimed more than 3000 dead and counting around the country. Nepal needs your HELP.

Please donate to a good organization such as:
Care Canada, American Himalayan Foundation, dZi Foundation, Red Cross, etc.

Help Nepal Now

Western Cwm, Pumo Ri from C3-18x12x254 [Desktop Resolution]

clean water

Mt. Washington April 3-4, 2015

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Proud to have climbed Mount Washington Saturday April 3 & 4 with Foundation Esprit de Corps Single Parent program Team Cohort 9. Hurricane force winds 75-100mph (120-150km) forced us to turn around just before the summit. The team showed such strength of will and determination under very difficult conditions and they are a brilliant example and inspiration to their kids and families alike. Bravo.

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Mt. Washington Apr. 4 2015

Participants: Marie-Claude Arès, Catherine Avezard, Anne-Marie Jacques, Danielle Lalancette, Anneliese Pauparelis, Vincent Quichon, Isabelle Therrien, Bouchra Serhir, Manon Barberis, Myriam Busson, Benoît Toupin, Devina Singh, Tania Asselin, St-Arneault.

Guides: Gauthier Da Silva, Caroline Côte, Ariane Lavoie, Jimmy Innocent.

Photographer: Maxime La Grim’s Grimard.

Myself: godfather:))

Eric Larsen, Polar Explorer

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Eric Larsen

As a polar explorer and expedition guide, I’ve completed more polar expeditions than any other American in history. In 2006, I completed the first ever summer expedition to the North Pole. In 2010, I completed a world record expedition to the South Pole, North Pole, and top of Mt. Everest within a 365 day period. And last May, I completed what I believe may realistically be the last North Pole expedition due to global warming.

In the past explorers have famously quipped, “Because it’s there.” My journeys stand in stark contrast: “Because it might not be there in the future.”

My goal is not to chart new territory. Rather it is to simply discover these places as they exist today. My hope is connect people to these last great frozen wildernesses and educate people about what they are like and how they are changing.

After spending not just days and weeks, but weeks and months, traveling ‘human powered’ across these landscapes, I have a unique perspective on the current state of the Arctic and its overall fragility that I feel the need to share.

Make no mistake about it. The ice is melting. Over the past 10-plus years, I have seen dramatic changes in the character and nature of sea ice. The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world. Drilling in the Arctic Ocean will not only continue the destruction of this unique environment but also contribute to the plague of human-caused climate change already affecting the entire planet. While there have been some positive moves, such as the Obama administration’s action to safeguard some areas of the Arctic Ocean, there have also been others that threaten to further worsen the problem—the Port of Seattle’s decision to open its doors to Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet, and the Obama administration’s continued consideration of drilling in other parts of the Arctic Ocean among them.

Preparing for my expeditions takes years of planning, training and testing gear. To rush any facet spells injury or worse for me and my team. Rushing Arctic drilling through the Chukchi lease sale is even more risky. And doing so to satisfy one oil company eager to drill is not worth the potential damage to our climate, our environment, and local communities.

After suffering countless expedition gear failures, I know that the Arctic is one of most inhospitable regions on the planet. Any oil company that says that it can drill safely in the harsh and demanding Arctic environment is putting the entire region in jeopardy.

The government’s new environmental analysis predicts there is a 75 percent chance of a major oil spill if the leases in the Chukchi Sea lead to development. There is no effective way to clean up or contain spilled oil in Arctic Ocean conditions. The analysis acknowledges a major oil spill “could result in the loss of large numbers of polar bears” and that “this would have a significant impact on the Southern Beaufort Sea and/or Chukchi Beaufort Sea stocks of polar bears,” the two polar bear populations living off the coast of Alaska. Added to the already growing threat of the loss of sea ice, this prediction bodes ill for the bears’ future. Unfortunately these risks are not unique to the Chukchi Sea; the threat to wildlife, the environment, and the climate accompany any plans for drilling in the Arctic Ocean.

Over the years, I have had several very close encounters with polar bears. One jumped on my tent while I was sleeping in it. Another snuck up behind me coming within just 15 feet. As scary as these encounters were, more frightening is a world without these incredible animals.

The President and his administration have ample reasons to end drilling in the Arctic Ocean in 2015 and not to offer new leases for sale in the future. After examining all of the impacts of Arctic drilling, the Obama administration should conclude that no leasing should proceed in America’s Arctic Ocean. The rest of us have a role to play as well, including the Port of Seattle. The Port must stop enabling destructive drilling and instead deny Shell berth at its terminals.

Everyone, all of us on the planet, we are all explorers. And as explorers in the 21st century our job is not to conquer, but to protect.

THESTRANGER.COM