Speaker, author and explorer, Mark Wood is no stranger to cold extremes. His experience includes guiding film crews to the Magnetic North Pole, leading two expeditions to the Geomagnetic North Pole and completing solo expeditions to both the Geographic North and South Poles. He has been a part of major BBC and Channel 5 documentaries and over the years has trained and led people in the extremes of the planet.
We asked Mark about his life and his incredible upcoming SOLO 100 expedition.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and life as an explorer?
I have a military and Fire and Rescue background. For the past 2 decades I have been training and leading different teams on major polar and mountain expeditions. My journeys are designed to work alongside global educators and major documentary organisations.
What is your purpose?
My sole purpose is to explore and reconnect people with the environment. I enjoy taking people from their places of work into extreme climates on expeditions that inspire and empower and leave them with respect towards nature.
What kind of expeditions have you taken part in?
I have completed solo journeys to both the North and South Geographic Poles, guided Top Gear to the magnetic North Pole and led team expeditions to the geographic North Pole. I have also guided two expeditions to the geomagnetic North Pole and completed over 14 major expeditions in northern Canada's high Arctic, run a company of high altitude guides in the Himalayas who work on low level 5500 metre peaks to 8000 metre peaks. I do all the logistics and planning for the expeditions and I don't use expedition logistic operators.
How did you become an explorer?
I applied for a team to train in the high Arctic whilst working for the Fire and Rescue service. Explorer is defined as ‘someone who travels to places where no one has ever been in order to find out what is there.’. We are now entering into a new era of discovery, and how we explore our world is going to change.
Can you tell us about your SOLO 100 expedition? What will it involve?
SOLO 100 is bringing all of my experience and understanding of how important connecting students with the environment through education into one journey. SOLO 100 will tell inspirational stories that will challenge the world to take urgent climate action. I will be alone for 100 days unsupported and unaided on some of the remaining Arctic sea ice in north Canada to show the realities of the climate crisis.
This journey will become part of a major documentary on modern day extreme exploration and my experiences of climate change from the ice. Each day will be dedicated to groups of young people worldwide and we will be sharing films created by youths about their own local issues with climate change and the change that they need to see happen to protect their futures. SOLO 100 will be a platform for change, generating mass climate action and inspiring young people to raise their voices to make the world listen and act.
I need your support to get the kit for this expedition and make SOLO 100 a reality. You can be part of this journey by clicking this link and choosing from some fantastic awards, including pre/post expedition talks with me, signed SOLO 100 photo books by me and the film crew.
Do you carry out regular training?
I am constantly training - my body needs to be strong to pull two sledges - roughly 180kg (mainly made up of the Expedition Foods). I have over one year to focus my body and mind to this as my greatest challenge yet.
What is your favourite piece of gear in your kit?
My favourite gear is my sleeping bag as it is my escape at night from the freezer. And in the morning, it’s difficult to get out of!
What advice would you offer to others who have set their sights on becoming a polar explorer?
Understanding what you are getting into in the first place. When the plane drops you off into the freezer for weeks on end the harsh reality kicks in and your mind and body goes into a fear panic mode - you can get out of this feeling but experience is everything. If you persevere then you will be on the most remarkable journey that only few experience in their lifetime.