July 24, 2005

SOUTH.: "In October 2006 ... Setting out from Scott's wooden hut on the edge of Antarctica, we will manhaul 400lb sledges across 1,800 miles of the most hostile terrain on earth, to the Pole and back." For $100, you can sponsor a mile, see your name printed on the expedition sledge, and have your name posted on the site when they have reached your sponsored mile. And you might win prizes too.

posted by worldcup2002 to extreme at 11:12 AM - 22 comments

whats this gotta do with sports???????

posted by maclmn at 11:39 AM on July 24, 2005

And how is this going to be monitored? Or is he looking to manhaul 400lb's of cash to the bank, which , I think is the more likely reason of motivation here. I think there are ALOT of might's here. Who exactly is going to see anything?P.S., I have some land for sale if anyone's interested.........

posted by volfire at 01:25 PM on July 24, 2005

I'll put your name on it for 1000$. (a sign) Interested?

posted by volfire at 01:43 PM on July 24, 2005

This is all about sport, and you know something? Go him. Sport is largely about overcoming physical impossibilities, and this is one if ever there was. This kind of expedition ain't cheap, and he's trying to do it the old fashioned way. I wish him all the best. Seriously. There is no fortune at the end of this. There are way, way easier ways to make a hundred bucks at a time than to risk death on the bottom of the earth doing something that no one's ever done before, that hasn't even been attempted for 90 years.

posted by chicobangs at 01:54 PM on July 24, 2005

Was'nt the old fashioned way just for King and Country? I don't believe sports really had anything to do with it. And as far as the physical impossibilities are concerned, woud'nt those decrease with technology? I'm sure their sledges are'nt made out of whale bone, or are they? Who is checking their claim out? That was the question.

posted by volfire at 02:45 PM on July 24, 2005

Was'nt the old fashioned way just for King and Country Yeah, that worked for Scott himself, and his team. Meanwhile, over on the other side of the Ross Ice Shelf, Amundsen and his merry band of Norwegians ski-ed and sled-dogged to the Pole in half the time, with plenty of food and no risk of getting lost. By comparison, Scott was a bumbling amateur, but for some romantic reason we remember him more than the others. Although the family of Captain Oates never forgave him.

posted by owlhouse at 03:10 PM on July 24, 2005

Ben's done this kind of insane expedition before. If he's fooling us, then he's fooling a lot of other people, including one's who work at Nike, Iceland Air, etc. It's easy to be a doubter. Go ahead and enjoy your cynicism and sarcasm. I think this what this guy is doing is nuts, but still inspiring. I think I'm gonna put a $100 down in SpoFi's name.

posted by worldcup2002 at 03:28 PM on July 24, 2005

So my question still remains, I could care less if you give the guy a 1000. How do you know he's not in some freezer somewhere, with your sign for your sponsored mile? For some reason I have this picture of a Jeff Spicoli, like guy holding the camera, saying "Dude, Thats awsome!"

posted by volfire at 03:46 PM on July 24, 2005

'I don't believe sports really had anything to do with it. And as far as the physical impossibilities are concerned, woud'nt those decrease with technology? I'm sure their sledges are'nt made out of whale bone, or are they? Who is checking their claim out? That was the question.' It has everything to do with sport, and it always has. Apsley Charry-Garrard (the youngest member of Scott's 1910-12 team) described his motivation as follows: 'There is a strong urge to conquer the dreadful forces of nature, and perhaps to get consciousness of ourselves, of life, and of the shadowy workings of our human minds. Physical capacity is the only limit.' No King and Country there. My last expedition was the equivalent of 31 marathons back to back (over the frozen surface of the Arctic Ocean, with a lowest temperature of -48C.) My next expedition will be the equivalent of 69 marathons back to back (or the entire route of the Tour de France). I'm an athlete, not an explorer. Everyone knows where the Poles are nowadays - I'm not skiing along drawing maps. As for verifying my claim(s), there's no governing body. No start/finish line. No checkpoints to ski through. I do, however, carry a CLS Argos beacon in my sledge - http://www.cls.fr/html/argos/aventure/products_en.html - and my daily positions are broadcast on my website for all to see. And you'd need a big freezer to fake this. As for technology making things easier. My sledge is hand-made from carbon fibre and kevlar, but full, it weighs 440lbs (with 120 days of food). Scott's team (with pre-positioned depots and the assistance of dogs, ponies and tractors) were pulling 250lbs each. As for Scott being 'a bumbling amateur', I'm going to use Cherry-Garrard's words again. 'There are those who say Scott should have relied on dogs... the people who talk of these things have no knowledge.' Cheers, Ben

posted by bsaunders at 04:51 PM on July 24, 2005

Ben Saunders, welcome to Sportsfilter.

posted by chicobangs at 05:26 PM on July 24, 2005

How do you know he's not in some freezer somewhere, with your sign for your sponsored mile? I was going to answer this question by suggesting you contact him yourself, but since Ben has decided to join in the conversation on this site, I guess you can confront him in the public forum.

posted by grum@work at 05:29 PM on July 24, 2005

I stand truly corrected. But yet you use such terms as" on my last expedition", and "as for verifying my claims". These are terms an exploreer would use not an athlete. I do not doubt your abililty to carry, or to weather out conditions, those are classified as intestinal fortitude. What exactly makes what you do a sport? Do you have a team? Is this a team sport. Or is this an individual goal sport like rock climbing/mountaineering? I admit you have my curiosity peaked.

posted by volfire at 06:03 PM on July 24, 2005

btw, SpoFi is the sponsor of Mile 27.

posted by worldcup2002 at 06:16 PM on July 24, 2005

And volfire utters the SpoFi equivalent of the Godwin trigger... It isn't a "sport" in the sense that there's no ball and no one's keeping score...but that is a pretty narrow, contemporary definition of "sport". Fox hunting, for example, was considered a sport, and still is by some. But there's also a thoroughly modern sense in which expeditions such as Ben's are within the domain of sport: they're performed by athletes; they have to be. In whitewater kayaking, for example, first descents of rivers aren't made by some quaint gentleman explorer, they're made by athletes, many of them coming from the world's elite in the sport (most famously in recent years, the expeditions to the Tsangpo Gorge). If that doesn't put a pursuit firmly under the umbrella of "sport", I don't know what would.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:45 PM on July 24, 2005

All depends how you define sport, doesn't it [/obvious] For my money, what Ben Saunders is doing is way beyond anything as frivilous as sport. At risk of never leaving a post here that doesn't quote Simon Barnes, allow me to quote Simon Barnes: "Sport requires a certain innocence. Without innocence, the glorious inconsequentialities of sport could not exist. We demand that people take part in sport as if it were a life-and-death matter, and yet all of us, participants and audience both, know that it is all most frightfully silly. It’s only that without the assumption of seriousness, it wouldn’t be any fun." When that seriousness becomes more than an assumption, when it becomes real and what you're doing really is a life-and-death matter, then you're into a whole new category. I don't question Ben's athletecism for a moment - while others play games as though their life depended on the result, his really does - but I can see where volfire is coming from in questioning this endeavour being described as a sport. The word maybe doesn't carry enough weight. Regardless of what we're calling it though, I'm intersted to hear more and follow his progress - welcome to SpoFi, Ben, you complete mentalist.

posted by JJ at 05:36 AM on July 25, 2005

Welcome Ben. You may be as mad as gravel but I applaud you nonetheless.

posted by squealy at 06:55 AM on July 25, 2005

On review, and having read some of volfire's other comments in other threads, can I just retract anything in my post that may have defended his position and kindly request that he takes his head out of his ass?

posted by JJ at 07:21 AM on July 25, 2005

Holy crap. Ben... wow. (But then again, I assume you get that reaction a lot...)

posted by tieguy at 07:59 AM on July 25, 2005

That's the best Spofi shut-up, EVAR. Frankly, what Ben's doing seems extremely worthwhile to me, and very clearly falls into the definition of sport (how the hell did that manage to be a debate anyway?). Sounds crazy, but I'm all for crazy.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:38 AM on July 25, 2005

< as for scott being 'a bumbling amateur', i'm going to use cherry-garrard's words again. 'there are those who say scott should have relied dogs... the people who talk of these things have no knowledge>> Perhaps. But if Cherry-Garrard had had any training in dogsledding, or even navigation, he may have been able to find Scott, and keep him from dying (although Scott would have been so embarassed by the revelation of how bungleds everything was he probably would have curled up and died anyway-oops, that's literally what he did in real life) But Cherry-Garrard didn't because Scott didn't think he needed it-to quote Scott, "There is not one chance in one hundred of him needing [that stuff]." Whoops. By the way, if you are replicating Scott's journey, remember that Scott (by technicality), never actually got to the pole. He came a quarter mile or so short, good enough for government work, but an ironic joke of the whole affair. Best of luck, and please make sure you unlike Scott have enough food to get you back.

posted by Bonkers at 11:08 PM on July 25, 2005

I have to confess both ignorance of the full tale of Scott's trip and laziness in not bothering to go and look it up, but I thought he was: a) A hero, and b) Very, VERY unlucky with the weather (like worst for a hundred years type unlucky). Someone set me straight...?

posted by JJ at 04:05 AM on July 26, 2005

Someone set me straight...? JJ - try getting hold of a copy of Roland Huntford's 'Scott and Amundsen'. A great book, brilliantly written, that compares the approaches of both explorers. After reading this, Cherry-Garrard's 'Worst Journey in the World', the story/diaries of Scott's Last Expedition and numerous other sources it appears that Scott was definitely not a hero: he planned badly, made some atrocious decisions and put his team in mortal danger. He was obsessed with Shackleton and was probably suffering from bouts of depression. The weather - his diaries complain about it, especially his 'bad luck' compared to Shackleton, but in reality Amundsen faced the same conditions, but instead of being tent-bound, his team kept going as they had better clothing and other gear, not to mention dogs and use of skis. Most of Scott's team had never been on skis before!

posted by owlhouse at 02:40 PM on July 26, 2005

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