The Unforgiving Minute

The Unforgiving Minute

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Jarvis Tim
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How do you lose 20kg in just 47 days? Strap on a 250 kg sled and haul it 1600km across Antarctica. Adventurer Tim Jarvis was inspired to do just that, treading in the footsteps of some of the most eccentric and heroic explorers by undertaking unsupported journeys to the South and North Poles.

He and trekking partner Peter Treseder pulled sleds packed with tents, medicines, food and fuel across these unforgiving landscapes of sculptured snow and ice at altitudes of up to 4000 metres, enduring temperatures as low as minus 45 degrees. When the grandson of adventurer Sir Douglas Mawson heard Tim planned to haul a sled across the Antarctic, he entrusted him with his grandfather's famous black balaclava.

Tim and Peter reached the South Pole in December 2000, setting a world record for the fastest unsupported journey to the South Pole and then continued on in their attempt to cross the continent. On the journey, Tim was forced to fill two of his own teeth (fillings shrink under those conditions), battled storms that kept the pair in their tiny, wind-beaten tent for 36 hours straight, and worked off a quarter of his body weight, due to the immense physical strain (even though he'd been pouring olive oil on everything he'd eaten- including breakfast cereal- to try to keep up his energy levels).

The adventures of Tim Jarvis don't stop there. In 2002 he and Peter attempted to walk across the North Pole unsupported, making national headlines when they were airlifted out after Peter suffered severe frostbite. Tim hit the headlines again in April this year when he and a friend attempted to canoe and trek across a partly flooded section of the usually dry Lake Eyre.