Eric Larsen

Facts about the Renowned Polar Explorer

Image credit: Jack Wolfskin

Snow, ice, cold, and windy – polar adventurer, expedition leader, and educator Eric Larsen has spent the last 25 years in some of the most remote and extreme environments on the planet. Eric has completed more North and South Pole expeditions than any other American in history. Eric hopes to use his knowledge and platform to enable traditionally underrepresented groups to undertake polar journeys and acquire valuable expedition skills while also personally pushing the leading edge of adventure.

Since 2022, Eric Larsen has been a member of the Discovery Team at Jack Wolfskin. Together with the globally renowned outdoor brand, the American has developed the EXPDN 3L Jkt & Pants which received an ISPO Award. In the following portrait, Eric provides insight into his life as an adventurer and leader of expeditions to the coldest regions of our planet.

Life – Eric Larsen and His Perspective on Success

When Eric was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, the world around him momentarily stood still. That's why he considers the greatest success in his life to be simply being alive. Eric Larsen sees this with absolute clarity and full awareness as a father of growing children. The good news is that cancer appears to have been defeated. It is a part of his life that drives him and motivates him to embark on his adventures.

Beyond this personal insight, adventurer Eric Larsen has completed various exciting expeditions to the North and South Poles and other cold places on Earth. In 2006, he completed the world's first summer expedition to the North Pole. In 2010, a world record expedition followed. He achieved something that had never been done before: Larsen went to the South Pole, North Pole, and the summit of Mount Everest. And all of this within one year. This success has remained unmatched until now. However, Larsen also guides and trains clients on their way to his favorite landscapes, the cold places. Being able to share his knowledge and experience about these areas is of great importance to him.

Training for a Polar Expedition

For those who want to venture towards the polar caps, not only good equipment and an optimal mindset are necessary, but without appropriate training, such an expedition becomes difficult to impossible. To stay fit and prepare for strenuous tours, the experienced outdoor adventurer has developed specific training methods for himself. "When I start working towards a bigger expedition, I start doing more focused workouts about 6 months prior," Eric explains about his training schedule before adventures. "It used to be that we would train for three years for one trip, but now I do so many other adventures that I’m always in one kind of training mode or another.”

Cycling (mountain biking and gravel) is one of the most essential forms of training. In addition, Larsen does a lot of hiking. To make this type of movement more athletic, he loads his backpack with additional weights. Pulling tires completes Larsen's workout program. It is certainly unusual, but this prepares the body for the tough moments of long expeditions. "Sometimes I also do other fun adventures to train," says Larsen. "For example, before a speed record attempt in Antarctica, I completed a multi-sport traverse of my home state (Wisconsin) by biking, hiking and kayaking around 800 kilometers."

Collaboration with Jack Wolfskin

The recently established collaboration between expedition adventurer Eric Larsen and the German outdoor brand Jack Wolfskin was directly rewarded with an ISPO Award in 2023. The expedition-focused EXPDN 3L Jkt & Pants combination not only convinced the jury but also left Larsen himself thoroughly impressed with the development of the entire Discovery collection. "The collection is meant to function as a system, so I really like how all the products fit together", says Larsen, who was involved early in the development of the collection. Following an initial exchange in Colorado, where Larsen philosophized and constructively discussed the specific needs and challenges of outdoor clothing for polar expeditions with Jack Wolfskin's development team, numerous video conferences ensued. The first prototypes followed. Larsen himself tested the polar suit during expeditions at Great Slave Lake (Northern Canada) and in Svalbard (Norway). The grand vision in developing the Discovery collection was that both the entire collection and individual pieces should be fully functional. "I wanted to create solutions to the many problems of human-powered polar-style travel that are both simple and elegant. Gear that is not overdeveloped. Gear that makes sense. Gear that functions as a tool to help you be more comfortable and safe", describes Larsen as his driving force.

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Special Features of Outdoor Clothing for Polar Expeditions

For polar adventurers like Eric Larsen, the selection of their equipment relies on exceptionally high functionality and quality. This applies to all expedition equipment. The gear must work in life-threatening environments; otherwise, it can become dangerous or even deadly. Especially when it comes to clothing, the requirements for materials are not only extremely high, but different functional properties are also demanded compared to outdoor clothing for hiking or skiing. "Ultimately, breathability and overall functionality determine each individual feature in extreme cold conditions," Eric Larsen explains, emphasizing the fundamental requirement for textiles. "Surprisingly, in polar environments, I worry more about getting too hot than too cold. Therefore, I want to ensure that heat and moisture can escape without freezing." In the development of the polar suit, significant emphasis was placed on making zippers easily accessible, both with and without mittens. Safety and survival are directly linked to the equipment's abilities. Whether crossing Patagonia's ice caps or navigating through the Arctic, the Discovery collection was designed for expeditions and travels to freezing places. Essentially, for all areas where it is extremely cold and windy.

Hero Moments - Notable Adventures:

In May 2014, Eric and his teammate Ryan Waters traveled unsupported from Northern Ellesmere Island to the Geographic North Pole in 53 days, covering nearly 500 miles across the melting Arctic Ocean.

In September 2015, Eric and Ryan also completed the first ascent of Jabou Ri, a 6,000-meter peak in the remote Rolwaling region of Nepal.

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miles across the melting Arctic Ocean
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days without a shower
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months (record): South Pole, North Pole & Mount Everest
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miles across the melting Arctic Ocean
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days without a shower
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months (record): South Pole, North Pole & Mount Everest
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miles across the melting Arctic Ocean
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days without a shower
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months (record): South Pole, North Pole & Mount Everest
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Eric Larsen at a Glance

Occupation:Polar Explorer
Nationality:USA
Birthday:1971
Born in:Cedarburg, Wisconsin (USA)
Residence:Crested Butte, Colorado (USA)
Follower pn Instagram:24.000