Many of us were fortunate enough to hear John Cantor speak at our recent Minters Ascent Series events in Brisbane (26 October), Sydney (31 October) and Melbourne (1 November).
This series, which is open to all alumni, provides unique opportunities to network and hear inspiring keynote presentations.
John is an adventurer and professional speaker who recently joined MinterEllison whilst completing his law degree at The University of Notre Dame Australia.
John is currently preparing to traverse the Brooks Range in winter - a 1600km expedition across Arctic Alaska. We sat down with John to learn more about his courageous plans.
The Winter Traverse of the Brooks Range spans 1,600km across a mountain range in continual darkness with temperatures ranging from minus 20 to minus 80 degrees Celsius with wind chill. It has never been done before and will likely take two months.
The cold is by far the biggest challenge, followed by the darkness. Loneliness won't be an issue as I'll have an expedition partner, but the isolation is a big factor. Rescue will be challenging bordering on impossible, so we have to factor limited support into our risk assessment and management plans.
I read Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, dropped out of university and went to Alaska. From there, I fell in love with the Brooks Range and eventually traversed it solo in summer. My expedition partner and I became the first people to attempt to traverse it in winter in 2014. It is exciting because it is one of the last expeditions on earth that has not been done in winter before.
Very little – a tent, sleeping bag and pad, stoves, camera equipment, skis, shovel, GPS, satellite phone and food. That's about it.
There will be moose, caribou, wolves, wolverines, Arctic foxes, ptarmigan and musk ox. The Aurora Borealis will be out most nights, as will intense wind and snow.
Filling time is not a problem; we need to ski 1,600km over mountains!
My main motivation comes from challenging myself and finding out what I am capable of.
I look for something that possibly can't be done. That's what excites me.
The moment I know for sure we can complete the expedition. As it has never been done, it is still unclear whether it is actually possible.
To find their own 'Brooks Range.'
Learn from my mistakes, or the mistakes of others who have done a trip before you. I have provided information and guidance to many people wishing to attempt to traverse the Brooks Range. Some of them have made the exact same mistakes I made, despite my warnings. I guess sometimes people need to learn for themselves.
Being out there for my birthday.
That people realise failure is not the end, but rather a new opportunity to set out to achieve their goal again.
Not only has MinterEllison provided financial support for the expedition, they have truly believed in me and my project. I really look forward to actually beginning this 15 month project and seeing the excitement in the firm as the expedition gets underway.
Starting my Grad offer with MinterEllison!