In the entire existence of humankind, not one mortal has ever crossed Antarctica by themselves with no help or machinery to help them through the harsh elements. This is not surprising since Antarctica is one of the most vicious places on the surface of the Earth. Temperatures on Antarctica can plunge below -75 degrees and wind gusts can reach up to two hundred miles per hour. These otherworldly and lethal conditions don’t intimidate Colin O’Brady, even after he suffered injuries so severe that his doctors told him that he’d never walk normally again.
Colin O’Brady grew up in Portland, Oregon, and has always been an incredible athlete as well as a passionate outdoorsman. He was so talented at swimming and soccer that he was nationally ranked at both sports. O’Brady was recruited by Yale University to swim for their team. The young man graduated Yale in 2006 with a Bachelors in Economics. But economics was not Colin’s passion, instead, the sense of adventure was what stirred his heart.
After college, Colin took only a backpack and a surfboard to travel the world. Then in 2008, Colin’s venturous life took a turn for a worse when he suffered a tragic incident in Thailand. While he was fire jump roping, yes a jump rope that is set on fire, the rope got caught around his legs.
O’Brady was burned from his toes all the way up to his neck. His injuries covered nearly 25% of his body, with the worst damage done to his legs and feet. The burn wounds were so critical that doctors told Colin that he would probably never walk normally ever again. But Colin was too full of ambition to let his trauma slow him down.
O’Brady was starting to get depressed about his long recovery and that’s when his mother challenged him to set a goal for himself so that he would stop feeling bad for the misfortune he had endured. O’Brady decided that he would compete in a triathlon.
After a year and a half of grueling rehabilitation and training, Colin competed in the Chicago Triathlon. Colin not only competed, but he won the damn thing. Winning the Chicago Triathlon fueled Colin with even more ambition and he became a professional triathlete. O’Brady raced in 25 countries on six continents over six years.
Colin wanted a new challenge to tackle so he competed in The Explorers Grand Slam Last Degree, a prestigious mountaineering competition that challenges adventurers to reach the North Pole, the South Pole and all of the Seven Summits.
O’Brady not only won the rigorous competition but he set the record for completing the insane challenge by accomplishing all of the inconceivable tasks in 139 days. Fewer than 50 human beings have completed this backbreaking accomplishment and only four people have fulfilled the requirements in under a year. Colin had enough time to spare that he became the first person to ever Snap from the summit of Mt. Everest, which deservedly received some impressive engagement numbers — 22 million viewers.
Now O’Grady has a new unimaginably harrowing quest to execute. The one-of-a-kind endurance athlete will now attempt to become the first human being to walk across Antarctica solo. Colin will attempt to be the first person to ever travel alone from one coast of the frozen continent to the other coast. Colin will be unaccompanied, not even any sled dogs, kites, or any powered machines.
Colin, who holds three world records, will be unsupported, meaning that he will not have resupplies or food caches. Anything Colin needs during his preposterous trek, Colin will need to carry on his sled. That means all of his supplies, a tent, and food. O’Brady will need a vast amount of food because he will be consuming 8,000 calories a day while burning off 10,000 calories a day. Colin, who gained 20 pounds of muscle to prepare for this trip, will be losing weight when his body will want to fatten up to keep warm in the frigid temperatures.
British adventurers Henry Worsley and Ben Saunders, two of the world’s most accomplished polar explorers on the planet, were not able to complete this exhausting expedition (Worsley died trying to cross Antarctica). Many believe that the inhospitable conditions make this solo journey impossible. Colin O’Brady believes that he will become The Impossible First, which is the name of his amazing attempt to achieve the unbelievable.
Starting Thursday, November 1st, the endurance freak of nature will begin his impossible polar journey as the first American to ever attempt the dangerous feat. Besides surviving temperatures averaging -40 degrees, Colin will have to pull a 400-pound sled that will hold all of his supplies. The unthinkable trek will take a grueling 70 days of pure endurance and willpower.
Colin touched down in Antarctica on Wednesday night where he posted to Instagram because what else would you do? “I made it!!! I officially set foot on the Frozen Continent today- 24 hrs earlier than expected,” O’Brady wrote. “Antarctica greeted with a stunning panoramic view on a blue bird day. The air temperature was a balmy -25C when I stepped off the plane, see the puff of frozen air coming out of my mouth in the photo.”
O’Brady’s only lifeline is a satellite phone and he will be equipped with a GPS tracker so that he can be found if something goes awry. You can follow Colin’s progress in his incredible quest to become The Impossible First on his website.
Colin did a TEDx Talks in July of 2017 titled “Change Your Mindset and Achieve Anything.”