Jackson Hole is famous for its skiing, but with beautiful high country and several world-renowned National Parks in its backyard, the diversity of local talents and interests is remarkable. Since I love photography and work in the field, I took it upon myself to check out the scene when I was in town last week. One local photographer’s story left a lasting impression on me, and for those out there who love the extreme, I think it will resonate with you as well.
If you sat down for a beer with Aaron Linsdau, your first impression would probably be that he’s a normal guy. He stands just over six feet tall, is lanky, and exudes a quietly confident but easy-going intelligence. Once you hear his story, though, your perception will undoubtedly change.
A Jackson Hole local much of his life, Aaron is one of few men to trek to arguably the most remote place on earth, on skis, by himself, dragging a 300-pound sled. On January 22, 2013, Aaron set foot on the South Pole after completing his 80 day, 1,400 mile trip from the Ronnie Ice Shelf. The sun never set, the wind never ceased, whiteout conditions dominated, but these obstacles somehow never phased Aaron. To put this in perspective, in Aaron’s words: “It’s like dragging a refrigerator from San Diego to Northern Utah with a blindfold on.”
I wanted to know more about what drives a man of seemingly normal stature to display such exceptional physical strength. To Aaron, much of his strength comes from within (and one of the most ridiculous preparation regimens I’ve ever heard of). His story is riddled with the painful realities of a mission to and through earth’s most punishing continents. These facts drive home a distinct understanding that no level of physical strength alone could bring one to the South Pole on skis – mental toughness, resolve, and sheer will-power are at the core of it all.
I had to ask if he’d ever do it again.
Aaron’s response ? “If I had the budget, I would go immediately. I think my next expedition is to the North Pole though. It seems like the logical next step is to progress through a journey with equal physical strain and polar bears actively trying to eat me.”
His book tells the story of his journey better than I can with my words, so head here to pick up a copy, get inside his head, and support his next mission!