ON THIN ICE by Eric Larson

  • Written by  Jon Wright
  • Published in Books
ON THIN ICE by Eric Larson
02 Apr
2017
In 2014, Eric Larsen and Ryan Waters embarked upon an unsupported 500-mile journey from Ellesmere Island to the North Pole. An always treacherous landscape had become even more unpredictable due to the changes wrought by climate change and this energetic account laments that ‘the days of over-ice North Pole expeditions are coming to an end’

With thinner ice it’s simply much too dangerous: on occasion, Larsen and Waters were obliged to swim through slush. Larsen wanted to tell his tale in ‘a compelling and heartfelt way’ and the reader will certainly be entertained by stories of polar bear encounters, the physical drain of dragging massive sledges across the ice sheets, and the detailed accounts of what it takes to plan such a daring adventure.

The tone is chatty and frank, with Larsen frequently recalling the psychological challenges he faced: ‘why am I here?’ was a question frequently entering his head. The book captures a sense of absurdity. Horrendous trials unfold in a beautiful landscape, while epic journeys are framed by workaday aggravations. No matter how heroic you might be feeling, leaving the relative comfort of the sleeping bag is always a bore and ‘out of a million terrible times you’ll have in the Arctic, waking up is one of the worst.’ The abiding memory of the book will be a story of camaraderie. Larsen and Waters had their moments of flared tempers and petulant silence, but they exhibited true friendship, respect and a keen sense of how much they depended upon one another. Perhaps being on top of the world has a knack for bringing out the best in people. The pity, as this spirited book reminds us, is that these kinds of journeys are at risk of being consigned to history.

Click here to purchase On Thin Ice by Erik Larsen

Share this story...

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox every Friday.

Subscribe Today

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth UniversityUniversity of GreenwichThe University of Winchester

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

DOSSIERS

Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • The Air That We Breathe
    Cities the world over are struggling to improve air quality as scandals surrounding diesel car emissions come to light and the huge health costs of po...
    Diabetes: The World at Risk
    Diabetes is often thought of as a ‘western’ problem, one linked to the developed world’s overindulgence in fatty foods and chronic lack of physi...
    National Clean Air Day
    For National Clean Air Day, Geographical brings together stories about air pollution and the kind of solutions needed to tackle it ...
    The Nuclear Power Struggle
    The UK appears to be embracing nuclear, a huge U-turn on government policy from just two years ago. Yet this seems to be going against the grain globa...
    REDD+ or Dead?
    The UN-backed REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) scheme, under which developing nations would be paid not to cut dow...

MORE DOSSIERS

NEVER MISS A STORY - follow Geographical

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Films

An emotional and divisive documentary that explores the trophy hunting…

Books

by Paul Murton • Birlinn • £14.99 (softback)

Books

by Harry Hook • HIP Editions • £54 (hardback)

Books

by James Suzman • Bloomsbury • £18.99 (hardback)

Books

by Thorkild Hansen • New York Review Books • £11.99…

Books

by David Bellamy • Search Press • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Michael Bristow • Sandstone Press • £8.99 (paperback)

Reviews

Oslo makes complex geopolitics a living, breathing spectacle

Films

New blockbuster takes climate chaos to the extreme, where what…

Exhibitions

Prestigious Natural History Museum photography competition recognises Brent Stirton's capturing…

Books

An inveterate armchair traveller ever since my Soviet childhood, I…

Books

Bonnett’s previous book, Off the Map, was a thoroughly readable…

Books

When Wilkinson set off to become the Telegraph’s Islamabad correspondent…

Books

Dartmoor National Park might appear wild, but it’s the lines…

Books

Barry Smith is a self-confessed islomaniac and a fixation with…

Books

Neoliberalism. The word seems to have lost all meaning. According…

Films

Combining a treasure trove of unseen footage set to music…

Books

The dreadful pandemic of 1918, writes Laura Spinney, ‘engulfed the…

Books

Those of us who enjoy good travel writing know that…