eric larsen polar exploration expeditions polar training skis ice bucket
Eric Larsen in his natural habitat (Benjamin Rasmussen)

Adventurer Eric Larsen on Training for Exploration

The extreme polar explorer on rock lifting, noodles, and scheduling conflicts

eric larsen polar exploration expeditions polar training skis ice bucket

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OVER THE PAST 15 years, Eric Larsen has redefined the limits of polar exploration. Beginning in November 2009, during a 365-day window, the Wisconsin native trekked to the North Pole, then the South Pole, and summited Mount Everest. Last year he rode a fat-tire snow bike 350 miles across Antarctica. Next spring, Larsen will attempt to break the 49-day speed record for skiing to the North Pole. His training plan? Carry lots of rocks, eat buckwheat noodles, and stick to a schedule.


Age: 41
Height: 5′ 8”
Weight: 155 pounds
Origins: Boulder, CO

I WANNA ROCK: “Engage the same muscles in the same way you will on the actual trip. For Everest, I loaded a pack with 50 pounds of rocks and hiked fourteeners in Colorado. For the North Pole, I tied two truck tires to my harness, loaded them with rocks, and pulled them along a trail for two to four hours.”

THINK WARM THOUGHTS: “A big part of tolerating the cold is your attitude. If you think you’re going to be cold and miserable, you will be cold and miserable.”

OODLES OF NOODLES: “My favorite meal is soba buckwheat noodles with chicken and pesto and a big salad. I used to eat a lot of white-flour pasta, but then I switched to buckwheat. My weight doesn’t fluctuate as much, and I have better sustained energy.”

CLOCKWORKER: “I’m all about routines. I eat, work, sleep, and train at the same time every day. It puts you on a structured schedule and makes you accountable.”

WORKOUT WARRIOR: “I travel a lot for presentations, and I hate hotel gyms, but often there’s no other choice. To keep from getting bored, I’ll do a 40-minute workout with ten minutes of intervals on each apparatus: ten on the bike, ten on the elliptical, ten on the treadmill, and ten on the rower.” 

WERTHERING HARD TIMES: “On an expedition, I always carry four pieces of Werther’s candy in my pocket for emergency calories and that quick pick-me-up.”

KEEP PERSPECTIVE: “I know at some point I’m going to be somewhere cold feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. That’s why I try to appreciate the nice things when they’re happening.”

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