Monday, March 14, 2011

Switzerland: The Pangaea Mike Horn Project


Our team in the Swiss Alps


(all photos copyrighted by the Mike Horn Program Photographer---Dmitriy Sharmorov and are from our Selection Camp) 

So about the Mike Horn Young Explorers Program (YEP). Mike Horn is a professional adventurer originally from South Africa, who has paddled and swum the Amazon from source to sea, circumnavigated the globe at the Equator and along with his partner Børge Ousland, became the first explorers to make an unsupported journey to the North Pole entirely in the winter months.

He has detailed some of his adventures in several books including “Conquering the Impossible”: an account of his 27 month long solo expedition by foot, ski, mountain bike, kayak and catamaran as he travelled 12,000 miles around the Arctic Circle without the aid of motorized transport. Basically he’s what every adventurous child dreams to be: a modern-day explorer that earns a living travelling to the most extreme places in the world.
Our team learning about first aid

He has a wife and two kids and has a home in Switzerland, and now decided to use his fame and ability to get funding to develop a four-year environmental activism project called “Pangaea”. The Pangaea Project is a series of expeditions to different parts of the world (Antarctica, Kamchatka, Amazon, Gobi Desert, etc…) for youth aged 15-22. If someone is selected, they are flown to Chateau d’ex, Switzerland in the Swiss Alps (the home base of the entire operation) to get mentally and physically tested for their compatibility with the expedition---all of this entirely free of charge.
Practicing how to do snow research in the Swiss Alps
If they believe you are physically capable and will gain from the trip, then you get selected for the actual expedition, if not, then you are already part of the “Pangaea Family” and can contribute to the project by applying for funding to start up a personal environmental project, or by joining the several ACT programs already established across the planet by other Yep’s (Young Explorers). They stress that not getting selected for the final expedition is not a sign of failure, but unfortunately their funding limits the amount of people they can bring along.

7 am morning run
To apply I had to send in a video detailing how perfect I was for an expedition to the Magnetic North Pole, send pictures and write essays about how I am a global citizen that cares about the environmental state of our planet. It was like applying to college all over again. I applied while working in Deadhorse, Alaska and forgot about it. Four months later, on my layover between the Lantang and Everest treks in Kathmandu, I got an email saying that I was invited to the Swiss Alps for the selection camp and to send the Mike Horn Team my passport number, so they could book me a flight.


I decided to use the free flight from Geneva to fly to Novosibirsk instead of back to Nepal.
For more information and lots of videos and photos from the selection camp visit:

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