World record-holding polar traveler and friend of Luminox, Alex Hibbert, has skied further on an unsupported Arctic journey than anyone in history. Towards the end of 2019, Hibbert will make a pair of world record attempts in different regions of the Arctic. The main focus will be, on both journeys, an athletic and technical challenge against the clock – distilling Alex’s hundreds of days of experience into fast, intense experiences.
In the truest sense that #EverySecondCounts, Alex’s every navigational decision, equipment choice and extra hour of effort on skis will dictate his success or failure… We chat with Alex about his expeditions and the role of Luminox therein…
A passion for the Arctic is an unusual one! Take us to the very beginning of it!
When I was in my teens I realised that I had a fascination for the Arctic. At that time, it was initially more of a romantic notion. It was also a kind of fascination with cold places. However, while at University, during the holiday period, I started off with short expeditions. I spent my holidays in places like Greenland and in general, on the mountains. Walking on the Greenland ice sheet for thirteen days was my first big expedition. It was just two of us, myself and a friend, at that time! I’d become addicted, and I realised that I wanted to turn this into my career. After that expedition, I have been on the ice every single year.
Tell us a little about your expeditions…
I specialise in winter expeditions. During winter, it can get quite dark. I specialise working in low light conditions. Expeditions could last anywhere between a week to a few months. It all depends on the kind of expedition it is. It could be an exploratory one, or a scientific survey, which would last longer.
This association has been exciting. A part of getting the word out for the new Arctic Series involved testing them under real conditions obviously, and I found that part most exciting. I think despite the very faithful laboratory conditions; this kind of testing helps in the little tweaks that make a big difference.
Luminox pushes function over pretending to do something. It is not just having a watch on the wrist. It is not just the machine but also about the people who are interacting with it.
I got the Arctic 1200 Series quite recently, though I’ve been using the Arctic 1000 Series for quite sometime now. My watch did exactly what it was supposed to in the most unforgiving weather. I also require a watch which is easy to read in the dark, and this was exactly what it did. It does its job well! It’s very handy. I think the 1000 Series looks sportier, but the 1200 series can transition well to casual occasions when I’m not on the ice!
Expeditions can be inherently dangerous…
Yes, it can be life-threatening. But, I’ve been doing this for over ten years ago. I do recall many occasions when the situation could have gone the other way and things are not in your control- something like a very big storm which damaged my tent. There is a threat from polar bears. You have to make sure you keep a distance. It’s safe in such situations to keep a dog with you, or pop little fireworks that scare them! If you are on an icecap, you need to be quite careful. The sea, the current, the winds…sometimes you can’t predict things!
It sounds like a dynamic job..
It is a big contrast. I like being away from it all and then returning back and talking about it! It is a high-pressure job, but I think the deeper I go in, I just don’t want to go back. You can’t get all of the Arctic! No two places there are the same. The people and the culture are amazing. It is also a great backdrop to test yourself. There is something in me that just makes me want to keep going back to the Arctic!
Life on the ice can be challenging, but there’s nothing that grit and determination can’t overcome!