Explorateur et éco-aventurier
South African Mike Horn is acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest modern day adventurer-explorers. He has undertaken exceptional feats of endurance, determination and courage, which haveextended the boundaries of human achievement.
Born in Johannesburg, in July 1966, he studied Human Movement Science at Stellenbosch University before moving to Switzerland where he became an instructor for an outdoor company offering extreme activities such as abseiling, hydrospeed, canyoning and rafting. There he developed a taste for outlandish
challenges and shortly afterwards descended the Mont Blanc glacier on hydrospeed finishing at the French Riviera.
Mike Horn’s first expedition of long duration was in 1997 and it was called the Amazon Expedition. This was a solo, un-motorized traverse of the South American continent. Mike Horn left from the west coast of South America on foot, climbing from the Pacific Ocean to the summit of Mt Mismi, the source of the Amazon River. He followed the entire length of the river, hunting and living alone along the riverbanks in the evenings and swimming down the river with a hydrospeed during the day. Mike Horn left the Amazon and swam into the Atlantic Ocean six months later.
In 1999, Mike Horn left on a new challenge called Latitude Zero, the circumvolution of the world around the Equator. On the 2nd of June, he waved goodbye to his family and traversed the Atlantic Ocean from Gabon, on the west coast of Africa, to Brazil, on a 28ft trimaran. Brazil to Ecuador, he crossed on foot, bicycle and canoe, traversing the Amazon jungle and the high altitudes of the Andes. Afterwards he crossed the Pacific Ocean to Indonesia, passing the Galapagos Islands. Traveling through Borneo and Sumatra on foot, through the jungles, and sailing with his trimaran, he then continued across the Indian Ocean. The last leg of the expedition took Mike Horn across the African continent on foot, through the drug zone areas of the Congo, and back to Gabon, where he arrived at his starting point on October 28, 2000 – 18 months later. This amazing feat won him the 2001 Laureus World Alternative Sportsperson of the Year Award and an invitation to meet Pope John Paul II at
Mike Horn achieved yet another staggering feat of human endurance in October 2004 when he completed a two-year, three month solo circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle – by boat, kayak, ski kite and on foot. Starting and finishing at North Cape in Norway, he became the first man to travel the Arctic Circle without motorized transport, completing an unimaginable 20,000km journey through Greenland, Canada, Alaska, the Bering Strait and Russia’s Siberia, pulling a kevlar sledge loaded with 180kg of equipment and food. This Arctic adventure called the Arktos Expedition earned him nomination for the 2005 Laureus World Alternative Sportsperson Award.
In 2006, Mike Horn and Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland, became the first men to travel without dog or motorized transport to the North Pole during the North Pole Winter Expedition. They did this during the permanent darkness of the Arctic months and reached their goal on March 23, 2006 after 60 days and 5 hours. The men started from Cape Artichesky in Russia, using skis, pulling sleds and swimming frequently in the freezing Arctic Ocean.
2007 presented a new opportunity for Mike Horn, the Himalaya Expedition. He was asked to accompany three experienced Swiss climbers (Jean Troillet, Fred Roux and Olivier Roduit) on an expedition in Pakistan. Wanting to gain more experience in mountaineering Mike Horn found it hard to refuse. After two months, Mike Horn successfully reached the summit of two peaks higher than 8,000m – Gasherbrum I (8,035m) and Gasherbrum II (8,068m) without the use of additional oxygen.
Mike Horn has ventured twice on expedition with his family. The first expedition was in 2005, when they crossed Bylot Island on ski and the second expedition was on ski from Barneo base to the North Pole. Thanks to the experience of this remarkable explorer, Mike Horn’s two daughters, Annika and Jessica (born ’93, ’94) are now the two youngest children to ever ski to the North Pole in temperatures of around -35°C.
Mike Horn was elected a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy in January 2007 in recognition of his ground-breaking achievements.
Mike Horn’s experience of the oceans, rivers, mountains, swamplands, tundra, ice, jungles, deserts, make him stand out above any other modern day explorer. With many and varied expeditions behind him, he was ready to start a new chapter in his life – to share and pass on his knowledge to the younger generation, This all lead to the birth of the Pangaea Expedition and its mission, to share his experiences and to educate the youth about the beauty of our planet and teach them how we can preserve it.
The Pangaea Expedition, four years in the running, has taken the world by storm. Mike Horn aimed to highlight the environmental problems that the world is facing today and took 12 groups of young and motivated explorers to visit some of the most spectacular parts of this world; the polar region of the Antarctic, the ice cut fiords in Milford Sound, New Zealand, the reefs and animal sanctuary’s in Malaysia, mangroves and marine life of the Andaman Islands, the high altitude regions of the Himalayas, exploration of the Gobi Desert, the eastern Siberia region of Kamchatka, the Magnetic North Pole, Northern Territories of Canada, the Everglades of Florida, USA, the Amazon Rainforest and finally Namibia’s beautiful Skeleton Coast to the tip of South Africa.