Explorer Journeys: Hollie Woodhouse

Inspiring Explorers Expedition: Greenland Ice Cap Crossing 2018

“I had never been in a freezing polar environment before or pushed myself like that. It was great to discover I could do it and didn’t give up, despite the many times I wanted to. I came out stronger because of it.”

During the Trust’s expedition to traverse the Greenland Ice Cap in 2018, Hollie Woodhouse stepped right outside her comfort zone and found inner resources she didn’t know she had.

Hollie was no stranger to extreme environments before taking part in the Trust’s expedition to traverse the Greenland Ice Cap. Her thirst for exploration had already taken her to the Sahara Desert and Amazon Jungle, where she competed in endurance events, travelling over 200km in five days.

But nothing could have prepared this passionate outdoor enthusiast for the challenging 29 days she spent in Greenland’s remote icy environs. Hollie and the rest of the six-person team battled extreme cold, hurricane force winds, illness, and the mental challenge of facing the same vast expanse of never-ending whiteness, day after day.

Hollie says the expedition landed her right outside her comfort zone and pushed her to her physical and mental limits. Her biggest challenge was dragging a 60-kilogram sled more than 560 kilometres across the undulating ice cap, traversing conditions ranging from hard slippery ice, to deep powdery snow, in conditions sometimes reaching -40oC.

Towards the end of the expedition, the team was running out of days to reach the end of the traverse, and meet their connection to get out of Greenland.  The team skied for an incredible 21 hours on the final day in tough conditions to reach the end, which was an overwhelming experience, said Hollie.

Hollie says the Inspiring Explorers™ programme is a great way for young people to discover their explorer mindset. “The experience includes so much more than just the expedition. We learned about the history of the region we visited and its past explorers, while meeting some amazing new people. The programme opens the door to some real self-reflection and learning, and puts you into an environment you wouldn’t normally see yourself in. Having the courage to take that first scary step or do that thing you’ve always dreamed of can lead to a whole lot of new experiences.”