A SOUTH POLE ADVENTURE

A SOUTH POLE ADVENTURE A story of the human spirit and what it can overcome, The Push follows two adaptive athletes in their quest to reach the South ...
Author: Brent Boyd
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A SOUTH POLE ADVENTURE A story of the human spirit and what it can overcome, The Push follows two adaptive athletes in their quest to reach the South Pole.

ABOUT THE PUSH On January 17, 2012, for the first time in history, two adaptive athletes will push the limits and themselves to the most inhospitable place on the planet - the South Pole. The chosen date marks the 100th anniversary when Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova expedition reached the earth’s most remote spot. The expedition includes two adaptive athletes; John Davis, a two-time Paralympic gold medalist, and Grant Korgan, a world-class kayaker and adventurer. Both Davis and Korgan are athletes with spinal cord injuries. The team is led by Doug Stoup, the world's most traveled explorer to the North and South Poles, along with seasoned guide Tal Fletcher. Davis and Korgan will demonstrate through this expedition - as they literally push themselves 100 miles across the frozen Antarctic landscape - the capacity of the human spirit to overcome life-altering injuries. Perhaps more importantly, the team hopes to inspire people in all walks of life to help others achieve the seemingly insurmountable, to push their own everyday limits, and to live up to their ultimate potential.

The harshest, most inhospitable place on the planet.

Strong wind or katabatics (record clocked at 154 mph) can often create snow storms which will change the snow coverage in any given area, often creating sastrugies, or hard snow waves, which are often one to two meters high.

Grant and John will push on sit skis an approximate 176,000 pole strokes across this frozen terrain.

The athletes will each burn approximately 10,000 calories a day here.

The team will pull their own gear, weighing in total over 400 pounds.

The most simple of tasks – boiling water, walking, breathing – are exponentially more difficult at the South Pole.

The typical person at the South Pole faces life threatening risks such as frost bite, high altitude pulmonary disease, and hypothermia. For these two adaptive athletes, these risks are even greater.

For nearly two weeks, this will be their world, pushing 100 miles over brutal terrain.

THE SOUTH POLE

The Push expedition will face temperatures as cold as -70° F, with winds blowing at up to 125 mph and a vast, icy, barren landscape sitting 9,000 feet above sea level with no place for refuge except for a tent.

GRANT KORGAN

Grant Korgan is an avid snowmobiler, skier, world-class kayaker, adventurer, nanomechanics professional and husband. On March 5, 2010, while snowmobiling in the Sierra backcountry, the Lake Tahoe native fractured his L1 vertebrae, and suddenly added the world of spinal cord injury recovery to his list of activities. Without a complex plan for recovery, Grant knew he needed only one thing – positive energy. His path of recovery began with complete loss of feeling and zero movement below his belly button. Refusing to take “no” for an answer, and through the help of the High Fives Foundation, Grant and his wife began a non-stop lifestyle of exercise brimming with love and support. In one short year, Grant has graduated from wheelchair to walking with the help of two arm crutches. On January 17, 2012, Grant hopes to reach the South Pole in a standing position, leaving his sit ski to trek the final portion of this incredible journey. Ultimately, in his words, he plans to “show the world that everyone can remember to live the highest version of themselves, and that humanity can choose every day

THE ATHLETES

to live their limitless potential.”

At age 19, Santa Cruz, CA native John Davis, a then competitive mountain biker, was injured in a car accident leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. Shortly after, John pioneered the sport of downhill wheelchair racing, bringing his own custom-designed wheelchair to National Off-Road Bicycle Association (NORBA) mountain bike races for three years before other off-road wheelchair racers began to appear. Since then, John went on to become a two-time Paralympic gold medalist in the Lillehammer and Nagano Winter Games. He also served as alpine and feature correspondent on the A&E Network for the 2002 Winter Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. John credits much of his success to his understanding of competition. The word "competition" is derived from the Latin word “competere,” meaning “to seek together,” an approach he says he employs for producing gold in himself, his competitors, his coaches and his team. A pioneer once again, John will rely on his knowledge of competition, the training and techniques utilized by early polar explorer Roald Amundsen, as well as a specially designed sit ski, to push himself to the South Pole. Like Amundsen, who relied on innovation and technology to overcome the harsh elements, so too will this team.

JOHN DAVIS

medal outcomes by bringing out the best

Doug Stoup is founder and expedition leader of Ice Axe Expeditions, which leads adventurers, skiers and riders to Doug Stoup is founder and expedition leader of Ice Axe Antarctica and Spitsbergen, Norway. Doug boasts many first descents, including the first ski and snowboard descent of Expeditions, which leads adventurers, skiers and riders to the highest peak in Antarctica (Vinson Massif, 16,044 ft). Having led 23 expeditions to Antarctica and 11 to the Arctic Antarctica and Spitsbergen, Norway. Doug boasts many first Ocean, Doug is today’s most traveled polar explorer. descents, including the first ski and snowboard descent of the In addition to hishighest exploration accomplishments, Doug is 16,044 a cinematographer, peak in Antarctica (Vinson Massif, ft). Having ledski mountaineering guide, humanitarian, educator, “seven 20 expeditions to Antarctica and 10 to thefather Arcticand Ocean, Doug day is adventurist.” As founder ofpolar the Ice Axe Foundation, Doug also aims to today’s most traveled explorer. educate youth about this amazing planet on which we live. He has featured in television and film and In been addition to hisinternationally exploration accomplishments, Doug is apioneered streaming media from remote expeditions. cinematographer, ski mountaineering guide, humanitarian, educator, father and “seven day adventurist.” As founder of the Doug intends to continue pushing the edge by successfully Ice Axe Foundation, Doug also aims to educate youth about this leading, for the first time, two adaptive athletes to the amazing planet on which we live. He has been featured most inhospitable place on the planet, the South Pole. internationally in television and film and pioneered streaming media from remote expeditions. Doug intends to continue pushing the edge by successfully leading, for the first time, two adaptive athletes to the most inhospitable place on the planet, the South Pole.

DOUG STOUP

THE GUIDES

TAL FLETCHER

Marin County native Tal Fletcher is an expert in assessing weather, snow safety, emergency medical care, rescue, evacuation, winter mountaineering and group dynamics. Tal regularly serves as a guest guide for Points North Heli-Adventures, a heli-ski operation based in Alaska’s Chugach Mountains. Tal is also an FAA certified pilot and licensed skydiver and paraglider, and is notorious for his ability to accomplish “off-the-cusp adventures” such as an 1,800-mile bike ride from Canada to Mexico as well as running a marathon in sandals just to prove he could do it after he was dared. Not finding a marathon to run that day, he went to a track where he ran it in flip-flops. Tal regularly guides ski tours on the Antarctic Coast with Doug Stoup. However, this expedition will mark Tal’s first trip to the South Pole and will be quite unique. For him, this adventure is about using determination, strategy and teamwork to help his close friends accomplish amazing goals. And for Tal, that’s what life is all about.

THE SIT SKI

Custom made especially for the January 2012 South Pole expedition, the KBG Artik Crosscountry Sit Ski will not only help make history, but also serve as a revolutionary design for future adaptive athletes, taking their winter sport competition to a whole new dimension. Two-time paralympic gold-medalist Kevin Bramble is the engineer and manufacturer behind the sit ski. Operating out of New Jersey, Kevin’s business, Kevin Bramble Goodz (KBG), designs and hand builds sit skis, and outfitted seven out of the ten previous U.S. Disabled Ski Team athletes with his monoski model. Now, parathletes are sure to benefit from the technological advances offered by his new Artik design. Featuring two independently articulating skis rather than the traditional monoski, the Artik enables athletes to push through their turns rather than dragging a hand in order to turn. This feature also allows them to traverse undulating terrain and side hills. Weighing in at only 8 pounds, and with the ability to collapse into a small duffle bag, the Artik is much lighter and more compact, making travel on and off the snow infinitely easier. Made from carbon fiber and aluminum, Kevin sources many of the hardware and materials for his designs from the bicycle, aircraft and racecar industries. What’s not sourced is hand made by Kevin.

The "KBG Artik" Crosscountry Sit Ski, featuring a GoPro camera affixed to the front

WEIGHS ONLY 8 POUNDS COLLAPSES INTO A SMALL DUFFEL

TWO INDEPENDENTLY ARTICULATING SKIS

ALLOWS SKIERS TO TRAVERSE

Carbon fiber, 7005 aluminum and 6061 aluminum make the KBG Artik a strong and light design. When collapsed, the Artik dimensions are 30"l x 3" w X 12" h. The skis are Volkl Inuk 177cm. The track of the skis are adjustable to meet European cross country and USA courses. Using sheer upper body strength, Davis and Korgan will break barriers and presumed limitations to reach the South Pole. The specially crafted sit skis are expected to revolutionize the way parathletes participate in winter sports. The gear is as important as the athletes’ technique, endurance and determination. KBG craftsmanship will be put to its toughest test when The Push’s adaptive athletes take the Artik on a two-week journey through the harshest, most inhospitable place on Earth, the South Pole.

THE FILM CREW

Steven Siig, Director

Tom Day, Cinematographer

Petter Nyquist, Film

Keoki Flagg, Photographer

A director/cinematographer for many years with an emphasis on mountain adventure, Siig has filmed for adventure film production companies such as Warren Miller Entertainment, Standard Films, Alpine Assassins, Teton Gravity Research and others. Siig co-starred and contributed footage to Mount St. Elias, an award winning adventure documentary from Gerald Salmina released in 2010.

Petter is a well known adventurer in Norway, documenting his experiences along the way. In the past eleven years, he has participated in 19 expeditions around the globe, including a Mount Everest summit and first ascent of two other Himalayan peaks, Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua and crossing Greenland. Petter has made four trips to the North Pole and one to the South Pole.

After traveling the world for years to star in some of the ski genre’s most acclaimed films, Tom has migrated to the other side of the lens as a cinematographer. He has been operating 16mm and 35mm cameras for over 18 years, and more recently digital video. Starting out shooting winter adventure, he has diversified his shooting to other action sports, commercials, and documentaries. Tom has worked as principal cinematographer for Warren Miller Entertainment since 2000.

Photographer Keoki Flagg specializes in adventure travel, extreme sports, and social demographic portraiture. His work has been featured around the globe in magazines including Ski, Skiing, National Geographic Adventure, Audubon, Men’s Journal, Outside, Men’s Health, Vogue, Geo, Powder, and Sports Illustrated for Women.

High Fives was founded by Roy Tuscany, an athlete who recovered from a devastating spinal cord injury that rendered his lower body paralyzed on April 29, 2006 while skiing in Mammoth Mountain, California. After having high hopes of becoming a world-class professional skier, Roy had to relearn how to walk. A truly life-altering experience, he eventually made great progress. With the help of strong personalities, positive attitudes, and high fives all around him, Roy stepped into skis and loaded the lift at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort for the first time in March of 2008. The encouragement and uplifting interactions he received during recovery inspired him to start a foundation to help others with similar experiences. To learn more about the High Fives Foundation, a 501c3 registered charitable organization, visit www.highfivesfoundation.org

ABOUT HIGH FIVES

Tahoe-based non-profit High Fives Foundation is dedicated to raising money and awareness for athletes who have suffered a life-altering injury while pursuing their dream in the winter action sports community.

For sponsorship opportunities, [email protected]

THE PUSH A SOUTH POLE ADVENTURE

www.southpolepush.com Push Expeditions, LLC PO Box 1686 Truckee CA 96160 Photography: ©2011 Keoki Flagg.