First Ascent, Eastern Pamirs, Zaalayski Khrebet. Kyrgyzstan
Exploration in its purest sense and most traditional form is rarely felt, but we experienced it high on a ridge in the Zaalayskiy Khrebet Range. The mountain had no name. There was no map. All we knew was that to the right of us was China, to the left was Kyrgyzstan, and that the footprints were were making were the first in history. Something profound was sprinting through our veins as we made our way to the summit of this previously unclimbed peak. Encountering the unknown so far from home and without a safety net is, at least to me, the essence of true adventure.
Peak Karmen, Kamchatka, Far East Russsia
Peak Karmen, the neighbour and extinct little sister of Kluchevskay Sopka (Eurasia’s highest active volcano), tries to hide under the cloak of a massive lenticular cloud. Skiing towards a mountain dressed like this doesn't make any sense - these clouds, though beautiful, act as a warning sign that bad weather is expected - but we pressed on regardless. We fought high winds and gusts well over 100mph, getting no further up the mountain than Camp One.
Kluchevskay Sopka, Kamchatka, Russia,
Mountains, as beautiful as they may be, are still just mountains. Give them a belly, a voice, a lung, and a temper, however, and you have beast. Skiing towards Kluchevskay Sopka, Eurasia’s highest active volcano, it was impossible not to feel as though we were being watched by a real living giant, and not a friendly one. From base to summit there is 4750m of charisma breathing down your neck. We intended to climb to the summit and then descend by ski and snowboard. Kluchevskay had other ideas. She breathed gusts of 100mph winds at us for a month, coughed ash on us, ripped our tents down and pummelled us with pumice. We may have returned home empty handed, but it was one hell of an adventure.
Auyuittuq Pass, Baffin, Nunavut, Canada
Strong winds carry a very real sense of urgency, a feeling of being way out in the wild that no other element can match. When they arrive, the horizon and mountains disappear. Your world shrinks to the few feet - or even just a couple of inches - in front of you. All thoughts fall from your mind and you become truly present. Big winds in polar places mean switching to survival mode - the ’fight’ with mother nature is back on. It’s a great feeling to have your head down in a blinding storm. The battle is no bad thing.
The Adventure Begins
Departing Sredni at sunrise
Pen Hadow Training for his record breaking Solo and unsupported trek to the North Pole from the Canadian side