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mattbrowne's avatar

What is a good minimum age for children or young adults trying to walk to the south pole?

Asked by mattbrowne (31735points) December 12th, 2009

Sometimes it’s teenagers wanting to sail around the world, now the south pole also seems a worthy goal. From the Guardian:

Katie Walter from Nottinghamshire plans to follow in explorer’s footsteps and become youngest to achieve Antarctica mission. One hundred years after Sir Ernest Shackleton marched across Antarctica, a 17-year-old British girl is hoping to surpass the legendary explorer as she attempts to become the youngest person to walk to the south pole.

Shackleton abandoned his attempt to walk to the south pole with 112 miles remaining ‑ subsequently telling his wife he thought she would prefer a live donkey to a dead lion ‑ but Katie Walter is taking a break from studying for her AS levels to try to complete his unfinished expedition. Katie, who lives on a farm in Nottinghamshire, flew to Argentina en route to Antarctica yesterday for a journey that will require her to traverse enormous ice fields and glaciers, before finally ascending to the polar plateau at almost 10,000ft. The wind will be against the novice explorer the entire way, providing a remorseless -50C (-58F) wind chill. The starting point will be latitude 88’23“S, Shackleton’s southernmost co-ordinates and the furthest south anyone had been at the time.

What are your thoughts? Is Katie old enough? Will we see more and more teenagers pulling off stunts like this?

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8 Answers

juwhite1's avatar

Being female, and therefore having higher fat reserves, she statistically has better odds than Ernest Shackleton did. I think if her parents allow her to do this at 17, they might be a little wacky in the head, but if she’s committed to doing it when she becomes an adult anyway, at least they have some control over the conditions of her adventure right now. It depends a lot on her conditioning, preparation, and safety precautions in place.

mattbrowne's avatar

@juwhite1 – Good point!

eternal_serenity's avatar

I guess it really depends on how prepared she is and her maturity level.
I’m 20 yrs old and honestly if I decided I was going to walk to the south pole, I hope someone would stop me hahahaha I couldn’t see myself being prepared enough to do that

ccrow's avatar

Never mind minimum age, they should have a sanity check!

rangerr's avatar

@mattbrowne I love you for just asking this.
As long as they are not going alone, I’d say 16..
Any younger exception would be if said youth had family history of the intense camping/hiking required.. you need experience for this and the maturity level might cause issues.
Nobody should do this alone though.

Cupcake's avatar

I agree that it depends on the person, their maturity, intelligence, training, etc.

That said, 17 sounds insanely young.

“3 other laypeople and a professional guide”? I’d never be OK with my teenager participating.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Cupcake – I think it’s a little young too, but she seems quite keen.

Cupcake's avatar

Agreed @mattbrowne. She sounds like a tenacious young lady. I’m sure if she makes it through this she’ll accomplish a lot in life.

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