How Difficult Is It to Reach The South Pole?

Yesterday, Prince Harry and other participants reached the South Pole in Virgin Money’s South Pole Allied Challenge, benefiting Walking With the Wound.  The trek was a challenging one, pushing everyone involved to their limit.

I had a few questions about what it takes to embark on such a trip, so I asked Dangerous Grounds star and humanitarian Todd Carmichael, who held the world record for Fastest Solo, Unsupported and Unassisted Journey to the South Pole from 2008-2011.

Carmichael also developed a coffee blend with Leonardo DiCaprio called Lyon, of which 100 percent of the profits go to the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, funding wildlife protection, forest preservation, clean-water projects, disaster relief and climate-change research around the globe.

CB: Is it possible to reach the South Pole without training? Harry and his team’s training was covered extensively by the media, and they were in first place before all teams joined together to reach the South Pole as one.

TC: In a word. No. One must prepare, both the mind and the body.

CB: What kind of conditions are we looking at that would prevent a successful trek to the South Pole?

TC: I remember spending 8 days in my tent due to winds over 100 knots, when trekking 700 miles, later, for 10 days, it never warmed over minus 80 degrees. Those sorts of days.

CB: What keeps you going when you just want to give up because of the conditions?

TC: Something residing in your chest. It can’t be something outside of you, or something back home. It’s has to be something in you, something close, under your coat.

CB: Many of the many and women on the trek are wounded vets, some without limbs. I’m sure this poses an extra challenge, but does it make it impossible?

TC: No. What defines what is possible on the ice is not wholly physical. It is how far you are willing to push, for weeks and months. How far you are willing to push yourself.

Season two of Dangerous Grounds premieres January 28th at 9pm ET/PT on the Travel Channel.