© Flying Dr Pat
Explorer Patrick Peters is set to traverse the Greenland Ice Cap for the second time on 6 May.
In 2003, Patrick Peters attained the title of the first Luxembourger to reach the North Pole. In 2008, he traversed the Greenland Ice Cap for the first time, and is seeking to recreate the endeavour, starting Monday 6 May.
The expedition will cross the Ice Cap in full from south to north, as a preparatory expedition to an Antarctic traverse, which Peters is aiming to complete over the next couple of years. This year's expedition will cover a distance of 2,300km and can take anything from 30 to 45 days to complete. It follows a snow-kiting expedition completed in 2018, starting at Illulissat and ending at Qaanaaq.
Snow-kiting is what gives Peters his nickname of Flying Dr Pat. A qualified orthopaedic surgeon, Peters started out mountaineering, before his ambitions grew to encompass ice-climbing and long-distance ski-touring. His dream is to traverse Antarctica, and is hoping to make this his next expedition in 2020/2021.
RTL Today had the opportunity to ask Peters a few questions ahead of his expedition.
RTL Today: How are the preparations going? Is there anything left to do before you take off?
Preparations are going fine. Most of the clothing and the snow equipment were sent via cargo at the beginning of March. The pharmacy and the essential toiletries kit have been finalised during this weekend,
Leading up to the expedition departure date the electronics will be revised and connected. We'll be testing the satellite connection, which will enable us to keep in touch with people back in Luxembourg with images and SMS. In parallel, I'm keeping up with physical preparation but will be tapering down what I'm doing in the week leading up to leaving in order to avoid injury.
What is the most taxing aspect of this sort of expedition?
There are both physical and mental aspects to this. In physical terms, we are faced with long kiting hours across the ice to get those kilometres done. The mental aspect can be rough in the first few days as well. You spend days on end with nothing but your thoughts and the welcome company of your expedition partners or sitting in a tent weathering a storm or windless day. You're confronted with the harsh realities of the elements when you're on the icecap.
Do you still practice as a doctor outside of your expeditions?
I still work as a full-time doctor, but train in my free time. During the week it's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu here in Luxembourg and EMS training in Trier, either before work or after work hours. At the weekend, it's family time and this usually means biking or running together with my son.
How does practising martial arts help with these expeditions?
Martial arts give you not only a very good training with a complete body workout, but also a strong mental attitude which can help overcome adversities during a polar expedition. It has taught me a lot about self-discipline and patience. It really teaches you to be in touch with your body – both its limitations as well as its capabilities.