Tim jarvis

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - COVER STORY -

top half of the thumb on Tim Jarvis’s right hand is numb. It’s a re­minder of how close he came to death on one of his po­lar ex­plo­rations. Jarvis and his col­league were sep­a­rated in a bl­iz­zard. The tem­per­a­ture was about mi­nus 50C, and the other bloke had the tent. The strap to the har­ness Jarvis was us­ing broke and he stopped to fix it, which meant he had to take off three of the four gloves he was wear­ing. “It was a very se­ri­ous sit­u­a­tion to the point where the fore­arms more or less up to the el­bows were numb,” he says. All he could do was to keep mov­ing. It was the only way to gen­er­ate body heat. Even­tu­ally the feel­ing did come back ev­ery­where, apart from the thumb, and Jarvis sur­vived to find his col­league. It could eas­ily have ended in tragedy.

But to Jarvis this is what it’s all about. Push­ing your­self to your limit to find out what you can achieve. It’s why he has climbed 7000m peaks in the An­des, trekked to the north and south poles and why he is off again in Jan­uary to try and recre­ate the sur­vival jour­ney of Ernest Shack­le­ton by trav­el­ling 1300km in a wooden row­boat. “It’s pretty ex­cit­ing to see what you can achieve at the edge of your abil­ity,” he says.

Jarvis feels hap­pi­est in the wild. “Quite frankly, in ev­ery­day life you feel as though you are chug­ging along in about sec­ond gear,” he says. “I strug­gle to find enough to chal­lenge me. But when you get out there and do some­thing where there might be a bit of gen­uine risk, se­ri­ous risk, in­volved, you are ac­tu­ally much calmer.”

The only thing that may slow him down is father­hood. The 45-year-old has two chil­dren un­der the age of three. “I can’t think of a greater tragedy than not see­ing them grow up or not be­ing there for them,” he says.

But it’s not as if he ex­pects to die. “If you trust your own abil­ity you don’t re­ally con­sider that you are not go­ing to make it.”

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