Journey into the cold with Thursday night Vail Symposium program |

Journey into the cold with Thursday night Vail Symposium program

Caramie Schnellcschnell@vaildaily.comVAIL CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

It’s cool to be cold – a fitting tagline for mountaineer, explorer and expedition guide Eric Larsen, who has journeyed into the coldest places on the planet. In 2010, Larsen became the first person to reach the South Pole, the North Pole and the summit of Mount Everest. Larsen is the only person to have completed this trio in one year.”Put simply, the goal of the Save the Poles expedition was to tell the story of what I call ‘the last great frozen places left on the planet,'” said Larsen, who lives part time in Boulder. “Ultimately, I want to connect people with places and educate them on how unique and beautiful they are, how they are changing and what we can do to protect them.”Larsen will kick off the Vail Symposium’s Unlimited Adventure series with a free presentation at Donovan Pavilion in Vail Thursday night.”The Unlimited Adventure series is an exhilarating showcase of intrepid explorers, daring investigators, athletes and voyagers who ignore the boundaries of geography and endurance,” said Liana Moore, the Symposium’s executive director. “Eric Larsen fits this series perfectly, and he’ll also bring an environmental component to his talk.”

While atop Everest, Larsen completed another first. “I was the first person to tweet from the Everest summit (and the North Pole, as well),” Larsen said. Using a GPS, he tweeted “Everest Summit.” “I thought that succinctly summed up the situation,” he said.While Larsen is in town, he also will speak to approximately 150 seventh- and eighth-graders from Homestake Peak School of Expeditionary Learning this afternoon in Vail as a part of the Unlimited Adventures in the Schools program, Moore said.Attendees of tonight’s program can expect “incredible images and video from some of the most extreme environments on the planet,” Larsen said. There are a couple of main messages that Larsen is focused on. “First and foremost, my story is really an environmental one,” he said. “I want people have a better understanding of how unique and fragile these ecosystems are and how our actions affect them. I’ve also found that there are many other ‘real life’ lessons that can be learned from expedition travel, like how to over come big obstacles, team work and communication.”

Earlier this month, Larsen returned from Antarctica, where he was working as a guide for a company called Adventure Network International. “While there, I led a trip to an emperor penguin colony; spent a week alone monitoring weather at a remote skiway halfway between the South Pole and the coast of Antarctica; and leading a ‘last degree’ expedition – skiing the last 60 nautical miles to the South Pole,” he said.He wrote about the experience on his website,”Antarctica. Cold and remote. Beautiful and desolate. Its frozen vastness has woven itself into the fabric of my being. I often say that skiing across the ice day after day after day is less a journey toward the pole but rather into it. My goal is subtle: understand this place. Learn from it. Respect it.”To me, my time with the emperor penguins was probably one of the more incredible experiences of my life. The first night, I was nearly asleep in my tent and I heard the steady crunch, crunch of footfalls in the nearby snow. It was probably one of my clients walking around, I assumed. Opening my tent door, a whole group of penguins stared back curiously.”Pretty cool, indeed.High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or

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