Sharing tales of Antarctic adventure

grand forks herald

Friday, February 28, 2014 12:00 am
RICHARD DANCE

COEUR d’ALENE – One of the world’s most famous explorers made an expedition to Thursday’s Cd’A Leadership Breakfast of the Inland Northwest Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Will Steger spoke and showed slides of his outdoor adventures, which began at age 12. By age 19, he not only was an accomplished explorer, but had built a log cabin in the wilderness far from any roads.

Even after he showed the audience of 110 Scout supporters his earlier arctic expeditions, they were not prepared for his main presentation – the story of his 220-day crossing of 3,741 miles of Antarctica with six men and three teams of dog sleds.

Steger joins Amelia Earhart, Robert Peary, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Dr. Thor Heyerdahl, Roald Amundsen and Neil Armstrong in some of the significant awards they have in common. At the end of Thursday’s presentation, the audience was humbled by his accomplishments and fortitude in surviving minus-75 degree temperatures during the day and 100 mph winds. We felt better about the snow and cold we experienced the last few weeks in the safety of North Idaho, where we had food and shelter.

The fact that no one died and no dogs were lost bespeaks the incredible lifetime of preparation and ingenuity and closeness of the international group that undertook an exploration that had never been done before, and might not ever be possible to do again because of climate change.
After his presentation, Steger opened up for a brief question and answer period.
The first question from the audience was from Jobs Plus President Steve Griffitts. “How is it you are still alive?”

We all laughed, breaking the tension that had built up during Steger’s presentation, knowing that on many of Steger’s adventures there was less than a 50 percent chance of survival, and that one of his sleds broke in half near the vicinity where Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the HMS Endurance, was crushed by the ice pack.

The breakfast was successful in raising more than $22,000 for the Boy Scouts, which is still the leading developmental organization for boys in the United States and the world.
And just in case anybody ever asks, Colgate toothpaste does not freeze at minus-75 degrees, but Crest does. We thought you’d like to know that next time you see snow flurries in the Panhandle.

View the article online here.

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