The Expedition: Two Parents Risk Life and Family in an Extraordinary Quest to the South Pole

The Expedition: Two Parents Risk Life and Family in an Extraordinary Quest to the South Pole

by Chris Fagan
The Expedition: Two Parents Risk Life and Family in an Extraordinary Quest to the South Pole

The Expedition: Two Parents Risk Life and Family in an Extraordinary Quest to the South Pole

by Chris Fagan


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Meet Chris and Marty—a married couple working on their careers, raising their only child, and chasing big adventures. At midlife, they suddenly find themselves weighing the responsibility of parenthood against the possibility of one more grand adventure, before their aging bodies and the warming continent of Antarctica further degrade. They ultimately decide it’s time to pursue their biggest dream: Ski 570 miles from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole. With no guide or resupply. From the lush Pacific Northwest to the barren landscape of Antarctica, Chris and Marty embark on one of the hardest challenges on the planet. After three years of intense planning and training, including meticulous preparations for the care of their twelve-year-old son, they are ready. Experience a boundless white wonderland like no other on earth. Encounter life-threatening dangers lurking in the bitter cold. Feel the intensity of 220-pound sleds, relentless wind, 40-below temperatures, and mind-numbing isolation. This is not an average couples getaway. Chris and Marty go where few others have dared on the way to making history—stretching their bodies, minds, and marriage to the limit in the process. Riveting and inspiring, The Expedition is about the power of family and community, the adventurous spirit that dwells within us all, and breaking through to feel fully alive.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631525926
Publisher: She Writes Press
Publication date: 09/03/2019
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Chris Fagan and her husband became the first American married couple to ski without guide, resupply or other assistance to the South Pole. She has summited Denali, in Alaska; run 100-mile trail races through the mountains; canoed the hippo-laden Zambezi River, in Zimbabwe; and biked through remote Tanzania. Her adventurous spirit shines through in her work as a consultant, trainer, speaker, and writer. For over two decades, Chris and her company, SparkFire, have helped Fortune 500 companies develop innovative new products and services. Along the way, she’s trained hundreds of people in creative thinking processes. A popular keynote speaker, Chris consistently gains praise for her dynamic style and natural spark. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, teenage son, and two labs, Winston and Kiya. The Expedition is her first book.


INTRODUCTION January 2014 Come on, you can do this. Mind over body. My body stiffened against the blasting wind that threatened to blow me over—again. The bitter cold searched for a way past my layers of protective gear. Squinting to see through the slice of my goggle that wasn’t frozen over, I turned my head left, then right. The coyote-fur ruff on my red anorak danced back and forth in front of my eyes. White nothingness swallowed me. A whiteout. Snow and sky melting into one. The cold penetrating my fingers told me to keep moving—my insurance against the constant danger of hypothermia and frostbite. It was minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit with winds gusting to 15 miles per hour, an average summer day in Antarctica. I edged my ski forward with bulging sled in tow, slowly feeling my way over chaotic chunks of snow, then lost my balance. Stabbing my pole into the ice, I barely stayed upright. I stared down at my black ski tips as they disappeared into the whiteness. Only my compass could show the way; I had lost all sense of direction after hours of moving through the jumbled mess—with no up or down—and my head felt tangled. I strained to keep the red dot that was Marty in sight as the whiteness threatened to separate us. No matter what, stay with him. With just the two of us skiing through the remote interior of Antarctica, there was no margin for error, no easy way out. I had grown sick of the blank white slate that bore no resem- blance to our lush green life back home in the Northwest and tired of being hundreds of miles from anything civilized. I longed to see our son, Keenan, hear his infectious laughter, and feel the warmth as I hugged him close. I worried about how he was coping with the pressures of middle school life in our absence. Today I felt the weight of the chilling truth. After skiing 460 miles over the past thirty-nine days, Marty and I still had over 100 cold hard miles to go. Attempting to ski from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole—without guide or resupply—was stretching us beyond our physical and mental limits. Our bond of marriage felt frayed. The bone-deep exhaustion and isolation threatened to break me. If only I could have reached back in history to gain wisdom and strength from the explorers who had completed this arduous endeavor before us. Maybe they would have told me that the usual nine or ten hours of work per day—fighting through whiteout conditions, slogging over slow sticky snow, navigating between jagged ice blocks, and bat- tling with blow-you-over winds—would be worth it. Maybe they would have helped me release the burden of my slow pace and the mounting pressure to ski more miles per day. As I heaved my 160-pound sled forward with everything I had, I thought: How long can I keep this up? I found myself fantasizing—not about the savory taste of Thai food or a steaming hot shower or the decadent feeling of a soft down bed, but about a way back to happy, energetic, smiling Chris. But the route back was as invisible as blue sky during a whiteout.
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