This January, an extraordinary expedition is set to take place. For the first time in history, two adaptive athletes will embark on a mission to reach the South Pole. The date for this expedition coincides with the 100th anniversary of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova South Pole expedition. The athletes, John Davis and Grant Korgan, will be led by two of Tahoe’s best, Doug Stoup and Tal Fletcher.
Both John Davis and Grant Korgan are extraordinary athletes. John is a two time Paralympic gold medalist. Grant is a world-class kayaker. Both of these athletes have spinal cord injuries, but have continued to push their limits throughout the world despite them.
John was injured in a car accident at the young age of 19, and paralyzed from the waist down. At the time he was a competitive mountain biker. After his injury, he pioneered the sport of downhill wheelchair racing. He won gold medals in both the Lillehammer and Nagano Paralympic Games. John is a competitor, and strongly believes in doing whatever he can to bring the best out of himself. However, his beliefs are not soley focused on his own pursuits, as he also embodies the spirit of competition by trying to do whatever he can to bring out the best in those he’s competing against, as well as his teammates, and his coaches.
Grant is a Lake Tahoe native. While snowmobiling one day in the Tahoe backcountry, Grant was involved in a accident that fractured his L1 vertebrae. Grant remains an avid snowmobiler, skier, and kayaker. Although Grant lost feeling below his belly button, Grant never stopped believing in the power of positive energy. With the help of his wife, and one of Tahoe’s most well respected groups, the High Fives Foundation, Grant has gotten after a lifestyle full of exercise, hard work, and positivity. In only one year, Grant went from a wheelchair to being able to walk with the help of two arm crutches. While Grant will be in his sit ski for most of this expedition, his goal is to be able to reach the South Pole in a standing position.
Grant and John will also be paving the way for future adaptive athletes not just in their pursuit of the South Pole, but in the tool they will use to reach it. The KBG Artik Crosscountry Sit Ski has been specially designed for this journey, by Kevin Bramble, and the hope is that this lighter and more compact tool will make it easier for other adaptive athletes to travel on snow in the future.
Photo Credit: dailymail.co.uk
The guides, Doug Stoup (seen in the above photo), and Tal Fletcher, are two of the people that make Tahoe the special place that it is. Doug is widely regarded as the world’s foremost polar explorer. His achievements as a skier and snowboarder are profound and include first descents all over the world, including the first descent of this highest peak in Antarctica, the Vinson Massif (16,044′). Doug has also led over 23 expeditions to Antarctica. He has led 11 expeditions to the Arctic Ocean. Doug is also the founder and leader of Ice Axe Expeditions, which is basically an outfit that will take you on the best trip(s) of your life. Ice Axe is about to leave for another Antarctic trip this November, will be taking adventurers to Arctic Norway for ski mountaineering this May, and facilitates other journeys across the planet to such destinations as the Amazon, and in the future, Morocco. As the founder of the Ice Axe Foundation, Doug also lives a passion for educating youth about the wonders and beauty of our great planet. He’s a father, educator, ski mountaineer, adventurer, traveler, guide, cinematographer, humanitarian, and easily one of the friendliest, and best people you will ever meet in your life.
Photo Credit: Keoki Flagg
Tal Fletcher, Doug’s other guide on the trip, is another one of Tahoe’s best. Tal is an expert in managing group dynamics. He’s perpetually Fired Up, and completely in tune to going after what needs to be accomplished in order to achieve extraordinary goals. Tal is also a professional at assessing snow safety and weather, emergency medical care, rescue, and evacuation. Tal is a licensed sky-diver, paraglider, and an FAA certified pilot. He’s an amazing skier and ski mountaineer, and also regularly guides for Alaska’s most celebrated heli ski operation, Points North Heli-Adventures. Tal, like Doug, is an amazing person to spend any amount of time with. He’s inspiring, and his mulit-talents are diverse and many.
The South Pole is widely recognized as the most inhospitable place in the world. The team may encounter temperatures as cold as -70 degrees fahrenheit, with winds up to 125 mph, while traveling at 9,000 feet in elevation.
The team will be self sufficient, and carry over 400 pounds of gear on the trip, for over 100 miles. In this part of the world, the strong winds can sometimes cause snow coverage to change in an instant. Athletes will burn approximately 10,000 calories a day, as well as be at the mercy of risks such as frostbite, hypothermia, and high altitude pulmonary disease.
Accompanying these four athletes on their journey will be world-reknown cinematographers Tom Day, Steven Siig, Petter Nyquist, and photographer Keoki Flagg.
It would be a tedious task to find four more committed, exceptional, and amazing individuals than Grant, John, Tal, and Doug. Their journey is meant to celebrate the capacity of the human spirit, to not only showcase the ability to overcome life-altering injuries, but to show how everyone can choose to live a life of limitless potential if they so choose.
For more information on this extraodinary adventure check out www.southpolepush.com. For sponsorship opportunities email email@example.com
Photo Credit: antarctic-adventures