A52: For those who don’t know you Alex, you have an incredible background in polar exploration. Can you tell us a bit about how you first started out?
Alex: “Aside from building experience in more conventional endurance sports, it was during my university years that I was first able to reach the cold regions. I, experience-free as I was, managed to cajole far more experienced people to accompany me on the premise that I took care of the logistics. In this way I was able to chalk up my first months on ice. Once with a foot in the door, I then developed The Long Haul Expedition (113 days unsupported on the Greenland ice sheet), albeit still often learning the hard way.”
A52: You’ve just brought out a new book called ‘Polar Eskimo’ telling the story of your 2013 expedition. What you have been doing in the five years since that expedition?
Alex: “Much of the time between that 2013/14 overwintering/spring time in Avanerriaq and now has been preparatory work and on-ice training. It’s taken the best part of four years to produce and research the book, albeit partly due to agent/publisher wrangling. I’ve also been training for prolonged winter periods in Northwest Territories, Canada, and in Svalbard. In January of 2016 I and two teammates made a successful journey on Iceland’s Vatnajokull, after a failed attempt in 2012.”
A52: We hear you’re planning a couple of big things for next year. Can you give us some hints about what these might be?
Alex: “I’m currently spending some long days at ABC Selfstore working on gear for next winter. At present we can only really say that there are two short and sharp, athletically-demanding Arctic journeys coming up in Jan/Feb. Stay tuned!”
A52: You have some incredible support from big brands for your expeditions and talks. Who are the brands that really go the extra mile to help you carry out and fund your expeditions?
Alex: “In modern day Arctic travel it’s necessary to be quite resourceful, as the pre-2008 glut of funding is long gone. These days my team and I work with a handful of partners who genuinely match our ethos, and who we invariably began work with as paying customers. In particular, ABC Storage has given me a secure local base for my equipment, somewhere to make modifications, and from where shipments can be sent and received. Nothing is too much trouble for them and they seem to have mastered the balance between good business and a family-feel.”
A52: Finally, what has been the adventure highlight of 2018 so far for you?
Alex: “James, George and I had a super-productive winter in northern Canada, enjoying prolonged periods of sub -35C temperatures as we skied from lake to lake and through the dense forests. We clicked as a team, and so that was a highlight, aside from the joy of finally getting our drone flying properly, and being followed by a pair of wolves for a few days.”