With one month before he starts his trek from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole, adventurer Ian Evans is hard at work finishing his final preparations.
Evans, along with three others, is heading south in mid-November and plans to ski 850km over 50 days while hauling 120-pound supply sleds to the pole, located at an elevation of 9,000 feet.
No matter how you phrase it, the task sounds daunting. But Evans is taking it in stride, focusing on one day and one task at a time.
“I’m feeling equally excited and nervous,” he says. “I’m not scared, but I’m concerned because it’s going to be 50 odd days of zero comfort and I’ve got to face the fact that I’m going to be in conditions that are pretty horrendous … every day there’s a little bit more mental preparation.”
Recently, Evans has taken to dragging a 40-pound tire up and down the streets of Elora – sometimes for four hours at a time – to prepare himself for the daily trek across the ice with all his supplies and gear. However, Evans says the intense daily training is making it hard to gain the weight he needs to start his trip.
“I’m actually losing weight,” he says. “I’m eating like crazy but I’m training so hard pulling the tire. The challenge is the balance of arriving not too thin and yet, keeping fit.”
But Evans says the physical preparation is probably the easiest part, as he continues to assemble technology, gear and donations to make the trip a success.
“I feel like a man in the middle of a padded cell with a bungee cord attached to each corner of the room,” he says.
“One (cord) is training and fitness, one is fundraising, one is logistics and technology and the last one is my life. So I’m kind of running toward one corner and getting yanked over to the other.”
Two weeks ago, Evans also launched a KickStarter campaign to hopefully close the gap on some final fundraising totals, with a $15,000 goal to be pledged by Oct. 23. He’s already halfway there.
“My mission is to motivate the next generation through talks, school visits and the legacy of a professionally created documentary film of the experience,” he says on the page.
Doners can pledge as little as $1, and a variety of prizes are offered at increasing increments starting at $10 – rewarded with a personalized postcard bearing an image from Evans’ trek to be signed and mailed upon his return – all the way up to $5,000 which garners a visit from Evans himself, a presentation on his trip, producer credit on the South Pole film, DVDs of his Australia documentary and a number of personalized photos.
“If you look on there, there’s a bunch of prizes so it’s not just me begging for money, there’s something real there,” he says.
A link to the KickStarter campaign is available at www.ianevans.ca.
Evans is also hosting a fundraiser on Oct. 17 at the Rabid Fox pub, 123 Pioneer Dr., Kitchener. The event starts at 6pm and will feature live music, merchandise and Evans dragging his tire up the street toward the venue.
Evans says he hopes the event will push the KickStarter campaign over the top.
All said and done, he hopes what he’s doing will be an inspiration to others, especially older generations who feel like their days of adventure may be behind them.
“A lot of people my age just stop doing stuff,” he says.
“We’re all capable of doing a lot more than we think we are.”