On April 9th, 2009, I faced an extraordinary challenge—the Polar Race.
At the age of 61, with 28 years of sobriety shaping my resolve, I stood alongside my teammate, 34-year-old James Trotman.
Embarking on the Race to the North Pole was more than a mere contest; it was a daring expedition that served as the ultimate trial of survival in one of Earth’s most breathtaking yet merciless terrains.
Our epic odyssey commenced at Resolute Bay, Nunavut, situated precisely at coordinates 74°43’N and 94°53’W. Our ambitious quest? To conquer the formidable 648 kilometers (403 miles) that stretched ahead, aiming to reach the elusive North Magnetic Pole.
Furthermore to accomplish this extraordinary feat, we had to summon every ounce of physical and mental strength we possessed. Pulling all our supplies and equipment on sleds (pulks), we walked and skied across the unforgiving terrain.
Pushing Limits in the Arctic
As I gazed out at the vast expanse of this desolate wilderness; getting lost in the Arctic’s polar area of 14.5 million sq. km/5.5 million sq. miles is not a clever option!
What’s more, I couldn’t help but wonder what challenges lay ahead. The Polar Race was a true test of our mettle, pushing us to the limits of human endurance, both physically and mentally. It’s in the crucible of tough moments, our true essence emerges.
Yet, within this inhospitable realm, there was a unique beauty that few would ever witness. It was a race not just against other teams but against nature itself, and we were determined to emerge victorious.
When you connect your efforts to something bigger than yourself, the strength and perseverance you exhibit become a testament to the human spirit,
Environmental hazards in the Cold
A harsh reminder came to me during a particularly vicious storm, with wind speeds of 60 mph and a temperature drop to -49 ˚C or -56.2 ˚F with the wind chill factor causing the temperature to drop to -80 ˚C or -117 ˚F.
My ambition was achieved at 8.47 pm. on 29th April 2009 on reaching the Magnetic North Pole at 78° 35’ N and 104° 11’ W.
Roger Davies Polar Race Interview with ITV News
Extreme Environment Race
The Arctic is never boring; quietly it emits a raw power. It’s still hard for me to grasp that I trekked across the Arctic Ocean to the North Pole, on constantly shifting pieces of sea ice, covered with ice rubble of fanciful shapes in a range of impossible sizes.
The frozen seascape stretches like a canvas of giant, rough-cut diamonds, scattered in a breathtaking mosaic by an unseen hand. Its desolate vastness boasts a savage beauty that surpasses the imagination of all who lay eyes upon it.
Amidst this expanse, I was reduced to a mere speck in a landscape that stands as one of the most desolate terrains on Earth.
Dedication to inspiring others amid the challenges of the ice is undeniably admirable. Holding oneself accountable to a greater cause stands as a formidable driving force. The concept of evolving into a guiding light for those encountering their own trials isn’t solely motivational but profoundly influential. When efforts intertwine with a larger purpose, the displayed resilience and unwavering determination stand as a testament to the human spirit, motivating others to confront their hurdles. This commitment to a greater cause ignites an enduring resilience, rendering the journey not only individual but universally meaningful. Roger D.
I want to tell you more about this extraordinary journey, ‘Adventure Racing in Polar Regions’ and the challenges that lie ahead. https://www.livealifetodiefor.co.uk/the-book-live-a-life-to-die-for/
My Personal Equipment List
Sled or better known on the ice as a Pulk (in which we each hauled up to 100Kilos)
Harness, Trace and 2 x Karabiners
Cross Country Skis (Fisher crowns)
Bindings , spare heel bindings
Ski Poles (also used as tent pegs)
Garmin, GPS (Global Positioning System); plus spare batteries
Gypsi PLB – Personal Locator Beacon (EPIRB)
Goose Down Sleeping Bag (comfort rate of -40c; it uses your own body heat very efficiently)
Fleece Liner (vapour barrier)
Liner socks 4 pairs, heavy Thermal socks 2 pairs . Tent boots
Thermal u/w top & pants (Merino wool)
Power Stretch top & pants
V/R Trail pants
Liner gloves x 2, Baltoro Ice gauntlet x 2, Down Mitts
Neck gaiter, Face mask, Thermal Ice Cap
A good Balaclava or a nose shield (solar) is essential.
Snow Goggles and Sun Glasses; they provide protection from glare of the sun and refection of the snow that can cause snow blindness; also a safeguard from the intense cold winds.
As I grow older, I have no intention of slowing down and being a typical retiree!