Australian adventurer Geoff Wilson is heading back to Antarctica in an attempt to become the first person to undertake the longest trek ever made across a polar region.
The 44-year-old last trekked 3428km from northern Antarctica to the west via the south pole pulling his famous “boob sled” between October 2013 and January 2014, raising $250,000 for breast cancer charity the McGrath Foundation.
For his next trip, he plans to travel 5000km from north to south, starting in November 2016 and finishing in February 2017.
His aim is to raise $1 million for the charity, but he also needs to find corporate sponsor s to cover the $1 million cost of what he calls “the ultimate journey”.
“My original journey was to be the longest crossing but I couldn’t get permission to get into what I call the forbidden sector of Antarctica,” he told AAP.
“Historically (the next trip) will be the longest journey by a human being solo and unsupported in a polar region ever. No tour has ever completed that crossing.”
Mr Wilson made the decision to return to Antarctica while waiting in Chile to join a group of 115 Australian entrepreneurs there for an eight-day conference hosted by the think tank, The Unstoppables, last week.
A one-day delay to the start of the trip because of bad weather allowed Mr Wilson the chance to meet with Antarctic logistics experts in Punta Arenas in southern Chile.
They discussed how he will need permission under the Antarctica Treaty to enter the most isolated parts of the continent plus agreements from the Russian, French, American, Italian and Australian bases there to rescue Mr Wilson if he finds himself in strife.
If he gets the go ahead, and the funding, Mr Wilson plans to cover 50km a day, aided by the use of skis connected to a kite to pull him and two 95kg sleds packed with supplies.
The trip will be tough. He risks frostbite, exposure and injury.
The last time he was there, temperatures dipped to minus 35 degrees and he feared he would die in what officials at the Russian base described as the biggest storm they had ever endured.
There is also coping with the three months of isolation, knowing the only human contact he will have is via a daily satellite phone call with his wife Sarah waiting back at their Gold Coast home.
Describing how he feels to be back in Antarctica for the first time since last year’s adventure, Mr Wilson said: “It’s like getting into a cage with a lion. Last time she tried to eat me. Today she tried to lick me.”