Will Steger, an adventurer to the world’s most inhospitable places, has wanted to explore since childhood.
His resume reads like an extreme-sport enthusiast’s travel guide: dogsled trips to both poles, climbing in the Andes, motorboat jaunts the length of the Mississippi River and kayaking more than 10,000 miles of the world’s northernmost rivers.
Steger shared some of his stories and showed slides to students at three Moscow schools last week.
In 1995, he led the International Arctic Project, a six-person expedition from Russia to Canada by way of the Arctic Ocean, and the first dogsled expedition to cross the Arctic in a single season. Along the way, he sent messages to schools around the globe tracking the trip via the Internet.
Upon completion of the expedition, the National Geographic Society awarded him the John Oliver La Gorce Medal for exploration, an honor shared with Amelia Earhart, Robert Peary and Jacques Cousteau.
On the 1989-90 International Trans-Antarctic Expedition, he led scientists from around the world on the first Antarctic crossing by dogsled - the longest polar crossing ever.
At the time, several countries were considering beginning mining expeditions on the remote continent, and Steger said he wanted to show them Antarctica was worth preserving in its pristine state.
“I’m always cautious of causes,” Steger said. “This was sort of the first time. We made it kind of a popular stage, or cause, to preserve Antarctica.”
Steger grew up in Minnesota and said his parents never even camped. His desire to explore came mainly from reading National Geographic, and his parents’ willingness to let him tromp into the woods.
Steger does not have any immediate plans for his next exploration, but he would like to be more self-reliant, using fewer supply drops from planes and maybe skiing where he would normally use dogs.
He plans on moving with his wife into a cabin in the most remote piece of wilderness he can find and writing daily, Internet-posted updates on life in the outback.