At 19 years old, Rob Gauntlett and James Hooper set out on a 26,000-mile journey, traveling from geomagnetic pole to geomagnetic pole using nothing but human and natural power. They managed to dog sled and ski across Greenland, board a sailboat to New York, bike 11,000 miles to the tip of South America, then sail in the middle of winter to Antarctica. With little funding and a lot of heart, they were able to accomplish the incredible travel feat in a little over a year becoming the first people to have traveled pole to pole by human power only.

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Between 8 April 2007 and 9 October 2008 Gauntlett and Hooper made their kickass 180° expedition from the North to the South Magnetic Poles to help raise awareness for climate change.

The expedition started at the Geomagnetic North Pole in the high arctic.  From here, the duo skied pulling a 100 kg sled some 500 miles to the most northerly town on the Planet and continued further south by dogsled until Rob Gauntlett fell through the thinning sea ice.

pulling a 100kg sled

After rescuing Gauntlett, the expedition continued by sail to New York City, where the pair began an 11,000 mile bicycle trip across baking plains and barren desert, through dense rainforest and across mountain ranges through the entirety of North and South America.  The ride was split in two sections by a further sail from Panama to Ecuador before resuming on their bicycles for the journey to Punta Arenas, Chile for the very last sea voyage a 10,000 mile sail through the notorious Southern Ocean, where they battled winds of over 70 mph and waves towering above 80 feet.  During this, their yacht was knocked upside down, coating the deck with inch thick ice. They sailed past the falkland islands in the direction of Australia, Just after passing the infamous Wilkes land crater they reached the magnetic South Pole. Having completed the 22,000 mile (35 200 km) trip, the pair sailed 1,800 nautical miles on to Australia where it all finished after a 396 day journey.

adventurers arrive in Australia

The expedition helped to raise money for The Prince’s Trust, and in November 2008 Gauntlett and Hooper were named as the National Geographic Society’s Adventurers of the Year at the Society’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. They became the youngest Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society also because they had previously climbed Mount Everest.

route map

Sources: 180degrees.com, cheapflights blog, telegraph.co.uk, vanityfair, Royal Geographic Society HK