RPM founder Hugh Robertson is attempting to walk and ski 100km to the North Pole for the Prince’s Trust . He has endured more than 650 hours of training and treatment and set off on his challenge last week. Here’s his story, so far…
As many of you will know, this challenge has been a long time in the making and marks a significant landmark for me and my resilient old back. After suffering a serious injury playing rugby, three operations and over 30 years of treatment, I am setting out to achieve a huge personal goal.
As we sit here in Longyearban, desperately willing the bad weather to end and the flight ban at Barneo to lift, we have spent our time sorting through our kit, re-sorting and then sorting once more. It is not something most of us ever experience in this mostly cosetted modern world but our safety and lives depend upon knowing where each individual item is stored and how quickly and easily they can be retrieved.
We will be travelling unsupported on the ice for less than two weeks, in stark contrast to my current roommate Norwegian national treasure Rune Gjeldnes, who succeeded in the first and to date only unsupported crossing of both Poles. In crossing the South Pole, Rune undertook the world’s longest ski trip a distance of over 4,804km, which incredibly he completed in 90 days.
It is humbling to hear him talk of the physical and mental challenges he had to overcome in order to succeed and his book, Beyond The Poles, is a fascinating read. Which brings us back to the challenge we are about to embark upon, if, no sorry when we eventually reach the North Pole, it is sobering to think we will be members of a very exclusive club who will have achieved such a feat. ln fact, this year alone less than 30 people will complete their unsupported journeys to the North Pole. For many of us this is our first time, we are lucky to be with the unbelievably accomplished Rune, Justin and ‘Hempy’, which for the three of them is simply just another day at the office and what a great office it is.