It is September 2021. For more than two years now we have had a specific goal in mind and have been training for this one expedition, the 3 Poles-Challenge. We have all our equipment lined up and almost ready to go. We have finalized the logistical plans as well as our own plans and even backup plans. And most importantly, we are highly motivated! To put it in a nutshell: we have prepared everything necessary to be ready and well equipped for our 3 Poles-Challenge…but wait, one very important thing is unfortunately still unclear.
A hard decision
Unfortunately, what we don’t have is a clear and final route from Finland to our starting point. The global pandemic has kept Chile closed for long periods of time, and while there are some signs that Chile might open a bit and let foreigners in before the Antarctic season begins, which means just before we need to depart Finland, the margins are too low for big transports like ours. This means that the entry still holds too many uncertainties for us.
Therefore, we have conducted a risk assessment for our expedition to better assess the impacts. The biggest possible risk would be that our cargo leaves Finland and we pay all the fees, but we still cannot enter Chile. Another scenario would be that we are allowed to enter Chile, but there is a virus situation in our group and therefore we would have to abort the expedition. We really thought a lot about that and did not make this decision easily, as the 3 Poles-Challenge already had to be postponed once by one year due to the pandemic. But in the end it became clear to us that we could not take these risks.
We must continue to wait
So now we do the only possible thing: we wait, we train hard and we prepare. Our expedition will definitely happen, but it will have to be postponed again by one year and thus to 2022. We really hope that the pandemic will be largely over by the end of next year and the risks for our project will be lower than now. After all, our expedition is just a kind of «luxurious trip» to challenge ourselves. In contrast, curing the global pandemic is what really matters to all of us.
In a year we will have three years of active expedition training behind us and we’ll be even stronger than we are now!
More background information and live blog during skiing can be found on the website of the expedition: https://3poles.fi/en
Text and Photos: Tero Teelahti