Se­don takes on one hell of a po­lar mis­sion

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Lake Hawea ad­ven­turer Mark Se­don is em­bark­ing on a 2000km Antarc­tic ex­pe­di­tion de­scribed by his Bri­tish team leader Leo Hould­ing as ‘‘ex­plo­ration at the edge of im­pos­si­ble’’.

Hould­ing’s trans-Antarc­tic ex­pe­di­tion has been de­scribed by the Fi­nan­cial Times as ‘‘the most au­da­cious and po­ten­tially ground­break­ing po­lar ex­pe­di­tion in a gen­er­a­tion’’.

It’s not a task for ev­ery­man. There will be just three: Se­don, Hould­ing and French­man Jean Bur­gun. They aim to be home in Jan­uary, after 70 days kite-ski­ing and climb­ing across a crevasse­cut route that begins at Union Glacier, pi­o­neers the un­climbed south face of Mt Spec­tre, and finishes at Scott Glacier.

Se­don will un­der­take his role as the Spec­tre Ex­pe­di­tion’s chief photographer on a diet of de­hy­drated scram­bled eggs and pep­per­mint Whit­tak­ers choco­late.

It’s go­ing to be so jaw-achingly cold, he reck­ons he’d break his teeth on any other frozen Kiwi sweet treats such as jaf­fas or pineap­ple lumps.

In its Oc­to­ber 28 ar­ti­cle, the Fi­nan­cial Times checked the au­dac­ity of Hould­ing’s plans to pi­o­neer Spec­tre’s smooth south face with other renowned climbers.

‘‘Make no mis­take, it is a hell of a thing they are un­der­tak­ing,’’ Sir Chris Bon­ing­ton, of the UK, said.

‘‘The hair on my arms stands up just think­ing about it,’’ said United States climber Ed­mund Stump, who with his late brother Mugs, pi­o­neered Spec­tre from the more straight­for­ward north side.

Se­don, 48, was in­vited along after talk­ing about the ex­pe­di­tion with Hould­ing at the New Zealand Moun­tain Film Fes­ti­val in Wanaka and Queen­stown – an event Se­don and his wife Jo have or­gan­ised for 15 years.

‘‘My po­si­tion just got con­firmed a cou­ple of months ago when one mem­ber pulled out and there was a spot for me . . . Luck­ily for me I fit­ted in just per­fect.’’

‘‘The hair on my arms stands up just think­ing about it.’’

He al­most for­got to tell, so caught up was he in pre­par­ing for an ef­fort that he says will be much, much harder than climb­ing Mt Ever­est.

While Hould­ing took an in­ter­view in the hal­lowed halls of Eng­land’s Royal Geo­graphic So­ci­ety, Se­don spilled the beans at the air­port, as he was leav­ing the

coun­try.

The full fea­ture on the Spec­tre Ex­pe­di­tion is on stuff.co.nz/travel/themes/ad­ven­ture/98393031.

BERGHAUS

Mark Se­don (left), Leo Hould­ing and Jean Bur­gun start their Antarc­tic ex­pe­di­tion this month.

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