Conquering the Impossible
My 12,000-Mile Journey Around the Arctic Circle
By Mike Horn
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312362621, 368pp.)
Publication Date: May 29, 2007
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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In August 2002, Mike Horn set out on a mission that bordered on the impossible: to travel 12,000 miles around the globe at the Arctic Circle - alone, against all prevailing winds and currents, and without motorized transportation. This is the gripping account of Horn's gruelling 27-month expedition by sail and by foot through extreme Arctic conditions that nearly cost him his life on numerous occasions. Enduring temperatures that ranged to as low as -95 degrees Fahrenheit, Horn battled hazards including shifting and unstable ice that gave way and plunged him into frigid waters, encounters with polar bears so close that he felt their breath on his face, severe frostbite in his fingers, and a fire that destroyed all of his equipment and nearly burned him alive. Complementing the sheer adrenaline of Horn's narrative are the isolated but touching human encounters the adventurer has with the hardy individuals who inhabit one of the remotest corners of the earth. From an Inuit who teaches him how to build an igloo to an elderly Russian left behind when the Soviets evacuated his remote Arctic town, Horn finds comaraderie, kindness, and assistance to help him survive the most unforgiving conditions. This awe-inspiring account is a page-turner in the vein of Jon Krakauer and a Arctic survival tale rivaling Jack London. Most of all, it's a testament to one man’s unrelenting desire to push the boundaries of human endurance.
MIKE HORN is a modern-day adventurer whose previous expeditions included traversing the Amazon river from source to sea, as well as circumnavigating the globe at the equator. Last winter, he and Borge Ousland, his expedition partner, became the first two people ever to complete a solo journey to the North Pole entirely in winter. Mike is currently planning an expedition called "Seven Wonders," in which he will traverse each continent on foot and climb its highest peak. Born in South Africa, he is 39 years old and lives with his family in Switzerland.
“This voyage has its share of death-defying episodes, from encounters with bears to a kayak ride through a maze of icebergs, not to mention the oppressive Russian bureaucracy . . .but it’s also filled with charming interludes. Through all of these adventures, Horn reflects on why he feels compelled to push himself to such limits. ‘It was inside myself that I took a long, long walk,’ he says. Readers will be grateful to share his experiences vicariously.”
“Horn’s raw, unfettered prose will hold readers in an apprehensive embrace as he describes risking life and limb to scale deadly frozen terrain. Adventure extremists everywhere will be grateful for this vivid description of a one-of-a-kind quest.”
“Compared to Mike Horn’s adventures, the exploits of Indian Jones or Crocodile Dundee look like the harmless play of cub scouts.”
--Le Nouvel Observateur
“As a personality he is exceptional, and so are the encyclopedic extremities into which he adventures. . .He recounts all with great vividness, tenderness and passion.”
“More than a purely physical exploit, this is also a wonderful human adventure. An absolute must-read.”