The Lightest Tread Podcast Episode 6: Eric Larsen.

Stories of survival and perseverance from a polar adventurer.

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Eric Larsen is a polar adventurer who is intimately familiar with some of the planet's harshest environments. As such he's no stranger to suffering and the extremes of mental and physical toughness it can take to make it through life or death situations. 

In 2010 Eric became the first person ever to summit Everest and ski to both the North and South Poles in a single year. In 2014 he documented his attempt to record the fastest ever ski trip to the North Pole in his film Melting: Last Race to the Pole. 

All these challenges helped prepare Eric, in a way, for his recent battle with cancer. After being told he had just years to live, Eric has fought his way back to being declared disease free. In this inspiring and moving conversation with Paul, Eric reflects on the many challenges he has faced and shares some hard-earned insights into survival. 

Eric also shares his plan for a polar adventure academy focused on providing training opportunities to BIPOC people interested in getting involved in adventuring in extreme cold environments. This program will honor one of Eric's personal heroes, African American explorer Matthew Henson. 

To find out more about Eric and stay up to date with his adventures and initiatives, check out his website or follow him on instagram.

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00:00 Intro 

01:20 Appreciation circle and career summary 

07:30 Mental fortitude vs physical endurance 

12:30 The challenges of polar expedition compared to free soloing 

17:50 Day 40 syndrome 

25:50 Existing as a part of nature, and learning our place within nature 

31:50 Raising awareness around global warming at the poles 

39:10 The Polar Training Academy honoring Matthew Henson 

45:53 The crucial importance of foot care in polar adventure 

49:00 Eric's cancer diagnosis 

55:30 How a life of adventure helped prepare for the fight against cancer 

01:01:50 The things that really matter in life