Explorers Connect

Explorer of the Month: Victor Boyarsky

EC CommunityJames Hipkiss

Ever wanted to know how to become an explorer? Or how your contemporaries do all the things they do (and get away with it)?

Each month Explorers Connect interviews one of its members to find out everything you need to know. This month if you've ever been to the pole via the Barneo ice base at 89 degrees north you may well recognise the modesty and smiles of the man who runs it: VICTOR BOYARSKY

How did you become an explorer?

I am just a lucky man whose dreams about active and adventurous life were magically fulfilled. In my youth I dreamed to became or sailor as my father was, or a polar man (huge impact of Jack London), and after graduating in 1973 I got just only one place available at the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute and the same year went to Antarctica. Then for nearly 15 years I worked as a scientist studying ice and snow with remote sounding systems, taking part in four Antarctic and six Arctic scientific expeditions. 1987 became a very special year for my polar career I was chosen as a Soviet member of the International Transantarctica Expedition.

Still guessing why?

There were many scientists in our Institute who could have taken this place, but I was lucky again. Maybe one of the reasons was that at that time (1987) I didnt know any words in English which meant I could definitely keep all Soviet secrets hidden deep inside even being in the team with men representing the USA, UK, France, Japan and China! It was a great time with our incredible dogs and on skies we crossed Greenland in 1988 from South to North (nearly 2000 km in 64 days), in 1989-1990 we crossed the whole Antarctic continent on longest possible way 6500 km with dogs and on skis. It took us 221 days to do that and we became the second (and last) dog-sled expedition after Amundsen to reach the South Pole with dogs. In 1991-1993 I took part in several expeditions in Canadian Arctic training for Transarctic expedition, which happened in 1995 (Siberian coast- Ellesmere Island). Since 1997 up to now I am running a commercial project, organizing skiing expeditions to the North Pole.

Why do you do it?

This is type of life I like combination science and adventure, possibility to share your own feelings with those who hit this snowy road for first time in their life. What scares you the most? Not being able to continue such a way of living before getting tired. What is your greatest moment so far? Approaching the finish line after 6500 km of skiing across Antarctica.

What's the most dangerous situation you've ever been in?

September 1st 1976 is considered to be my second Birthday - on that day I survived after getting lost in heavy blizzard in Antarctica.

What makes you smile?

All besides things making me angry.

What are the biggest obstacles to expedition success?

Serious illness, or bad injury, in other words Lack of Luck!

What's the worst injury you've ever had?

The worst definitely will be one which prevents me from taken part in the expedition.

What's the greatest thing about succeeding?

Motivation, belief and optimism.

What's the meaning of your life?

Living in the way which can make happy not only you but someone else.

How can I do what you do?

Everyone has his own Pole.

What's your nickname?


How do you balance the adventurous life with your home life?

It is greatest dis-balance in my whole life.

What's the one thing you do better than anyone else you know?

Writing poems.

What one thing couldn't you live without on expedition?


What is the best advice you've been given in your career?

Dont try to be excellent, just be good!

Is there anything left to explore?

Of course. Just look around and you definitely will find something to explore.

Why does the modern world need explorers?

They give to others ideas how to live another way and show on their own example that if one really dreams about something, he for sure will be able to make it happen.

If you could only do one more expedition what would it be and why?

I would go to Nepal, because I never have been there and because the mountains for me are different dimension of the space.

What's your life time ambition?

Just not getting worse as person while getting elder.

How can readers learn more about you?

They can visit the site of Arctic and Antarctic Museum at : www.polarmuseum.ru and order my books (in Russian). Or you could visit the North Pole as a scientist or adventurer via his company www.norpolex.com Victor Boyarksy was interviewed and edited by Frank Coles, a writer and broadcaster with a taste for adventure.

You can find out more about him by reading his professional profile on Explorers Connect or at www.frankcoles.com. North Pole photos also by Frank Coles. All rights reserved."