Tim Moss is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and world record holder. His own adventures include the first and first British ascents of mountains in Siberia and the Andes; travelling around the world using eighty different transport methods; and crossing the Wahiba Sands desert. He has organised and supported over 100 expeditions across all seven continents including the Women’s Commonwealth South Pole Expedition and Sarah Outen’s human-powered around-the-world trip. If you’d like a free copy of his book ‘How to Get to the North Pole‘ just email firstname.lastname@example.org – first come, first served. (UPDATE: All books have now been given away…) Preface below.
I first decided I wanted to go to the North Pole in 2008.
I travelled to the Arctic to spend a week learning to ski, dragging a heavy sled and camping in the snow looking out for polar bears.
Some things I learned during my research surprised me. Like the fact that if you want to go to the ‘true’ Geographic North Pole then your expedition will start further north than the Magnetic North Pole to which Jeremy Clarkson so famously drove.
I had to piece this sort of information together from trawling the internet and picking the brains of those who had been on North Pole expeditions. I was lucky, of course, because I worked in the Royal Geographical Society where such people were ten a penny.
The following year, I led an expedition to climb new peaks in the Russian Altai mountains – a consolation of sorts for my North Pole plans never coming to fruition.
During planning, I was struck by the amount of conflicting information. An experienced climber told us in no uncertain terms that we were going at the wrong time of year; the rivers would be too high and the snow conditions would be unclimbable. We faltered and almost went cycling instead.
But we stuck to our guns and flew to Russia where we made several first and first-British ascents without getting wet above the knees or having any difficulty with the snow.
Finally, I moved to Oman for a few months where the desert both enticed and intimidated. An initial foray resulted in a thirsty march back to a car I had to dig out of the sand using the lid of a coolbox. But following that experience, my wife and I walked the width of the tiny Wahiba Sands desert carrying all of our own food and water. And suddenly I had gone from no experience to feeling comfortable in the desert.
So I decided to write this book for the following reasons:
- To demystify what can be a confusing world, and break down some of the perceived barriers to such expeditions and explain them in simple terms.
- To filter the information and separate fact from opinion.
- To encourage people to try to get out there and have a go.
I am not offering advice based on personal experience (I have invited those with more experience to do that instead). Instead, I have tried to use my experience to explain what the different expeditions involve and present the options and information as impartially as possible.
This book cannot teach you everything that you need to know – you will need to load a rucksack and get out into the world for that – but, I hope, it is a good place to start.
If you liked this post, you’d probably also dig our adventure event on Tuesday.