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nly two people have ever done
it, and conventional wisdom
says it’s 10 times harder
than climbing Everest: some
would say you’ve g ot to be a
special kind of crazy to attempt to walk solo and
unassisted to the North Pole.
Tom Smitheringale, however, is one of the
most level-headed people you’re ever likely to
meet. He’s simply extremely confident.
“I’m the world’s champion believer,” he says.
“I have the belief that anything is possible. I never
doubted myself, not once.”
Think about what’s involved in a trip like the
one Tom attempted earlier this year, and absolute
self-belief looks the bare minimum requirement.
Think about dragging heavy sleds in cold as low
as the -50s. Then think about the breaks in the
ground that will cut off your progress, forcing you
to swim icy waters, still towing your gear. Sound
tough? Well now think about doing it completely
alone. And when you’re done, consider that the ice
under you is shifting constantly, so much so that
you could pour all your energy into walking five
kilometres, go to sleep and wake up to find the
ground has moved you 10 backwards in the night.
What the hell could possess someone to take
on a trip like that? For Tom, the desire goes back
to childhood. “I was a dreamer and that didn’t
always adhere to logic or limitation,” he says.
“The outdoors was always a great canvas of huge
imagination. I spent a lot of time outside.”
“Outside” was Cottesloe, where Tom grew up
before moving to the UK. His youthful love of
adventure led to five years in the British Grenadier
Guards, including time guarding Princess Diana.
Returning to Perth, he pushed himself by adventure
racing and climbing trips to New Zealand. But all
that paled, compared with what was to come.
“It’s nothing, what I’d done before – the risks
for failure were nothing like this. This was much
Explorer Tom Smitheringale was prepared to risk everything for
the chance to be Australia’s first solo walker to the North Pole
style « success « sports « gadgets
Men’s style 98 | What’s in store? 102
| Tempting toys 104 | Test Drive 105 |
Formula Ford Racing 106
|| Continued on page 110
words pete kempshall « photography tom smitheringale
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