Pushing Limits - Polar expeditions and extra ordinary adventures- Meet Henry Cookson
Henry Cookson has certainly experiences some extreme adventures, from polar expeditions to standing face to face with a lioness in the African bush. The extra ordinary moments and places are many...
The hunger for adventure and adrenalin did not hit Henry until he was about 27. Henry and two of his friends decided to do something different and unusual. In 2005 they signed up for the Scott Dunn Polar Challenge, calling themselves Team Hardware.
"No one took us seriously and we were definitively the underdogs ...I don't even think we took ourselves serious at that point. It was a fun thing which turned into something far bigger and more challenging than we ever could imagine". Henry and his two team members, Rory Sweet and Rupert Longsdon, defied all odds and won the challenging 360 mile race to the magnetic north pole, breaking the course record in the process and finishing four hours ahead of the nearest competitors. This record still stands as of today.
Henry was bitten and was thirsting for more adventures, now only to push himself further and seeking more extreme conditions- something interesting and special. Something extra ordinary. He and his two friends Rory and Rupert, from the previous Scott Dunn Polar Challenge, plus an additional member in Paul Landry, decided to go for the South Pole this time. Following some extensive research, they decided that their challenge would be to try to reach the Antarctic pole of inaccessibility - which is the exact point of land masses-the point on the Antarctic continent furthest distant from the Southern Ocean. The southern pole of inaccessibility is far more remote and difficult to reach than the geographic South Pole. This was a route of which they knew would challenge them to their extremes.
In 1958 a Soviet Union expedition reach the point as the first humans using mechanic track vehicles. They left a monument of Lenin behind them, which as of today, still stands and is protected as a historical site. Henry and his team decided to make the trip using only cross country skis and kites. It took 2 years to plan the trip and many hours of hard core preparation training.
January 20th, 2007, Henry and his 3 friends reached the Antarctic point of inaccessibility, being the first people ever to reach the point without any direct mechanical assistance. Henry tells me it is probably the adventure and achievement that is still most memorable to him and which is he is the most proud of.
" The intention was not to break records, this was an opportunity to do something unique and very special with three of my best friends. To push the limits in an extraordinary way" .
Any dream adventure for the future?
I would love to do a full geographic North Pole expedition. Because of the changing ice conditions, one are facing extreme conditions with more open water and possible very dangerous situations. Only a handful number of people have done it and in recent time, hardly no one. It needs a different approach in order to get around the problems and I want to try to find that way. Curiosity drives me. I am not settling for the normal and easy.
Any particular places that are special to you?
Oh there are so many ...The Antartica is very special to me, not only the extreme parts but also the Antarctic peninsula which is filled with amazing wildlife, almost a 'Polar Africa' with plenty of penguins, whales etc. It is certainly breath taking. I also find Northern part of Ethiopia highly fascinating. There are so many places on this earth and it is difficult to mention just a few.
Any memories or moments that are more memorable then others?
We were kayaking in Alaska when the whole face of a glacier collapsed just in front of our eyes causing a 10 m tsunami wave of churning ice water rushing towards us. For a moment I thought my life was over. We started to paddle towards the wave and luckily we were about 900 meters away from where the glacier had collapsed, so when it reached us it had calmed down. Nevertheless, we were caught in a vertical throttling ice water wave. It was us and the seals. It was an extremely humbling and scary station but at the same time so incredible and so many emotions are related to that very moment.
Looking back at it, we should have turned the opposite way , trying to surf the wave instead. That would have been something!
Another moment I remember well, was when I was younger and worked in Kenya on my gap year. In the midst of the African bush I was faced, eye to eye, with a lioness and her cubs. I only had a Masai spree and can honestly say I felt quite tiny in that moment!
Henry has since then, experiences many adventures and travelled the world in search of the next challenges. In order to share his skills, passions and experiences, he decided to set up his own bespoke adventure company.
Henry Cookson Adventures is creating bespoke adventure trips for anyone wanting to experience that special and unique adventure. With his vast experience and skills, Henry arranges bespoke trips all around the world to the clients exact needs and wishes. Anything that you thought was not possible...Henry can make it happen. Contact us here at firstname.lastname@example.org