Doctors Told Colin O’Brady He’d Never Walk Normally Again, Now He’s Trying Be The First Human To Cross Antarctica Solo

by 12 months ago

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.

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Today marks a major milestone in my life. 10 years ago today I woke up in this remote hospital in Thailand having been severely burned in a fire. The doctors warned me that I would likely never walk again normally. This tragedy shook me too my core yet also taught me some of life’s greatest lessons. I learned that trauma and pain can sometimes lead to growth especially when you can shift your mindset toward to positive and start working toward it no matter how bleak the current circumstance my seem. Who would have been able to predict that that same scared kid lying in the hospital bed in this picture would go on to become a professional athlete and set two world records? Today I am grateful for all of the people who kept believing in me and urging me to keep fighting for a brighter future. It’s hard to put into words the deep gratitude that I have for both my Mom and David (my brother in law), who literally pulled me from that fire and held me in their arms as I cried out in fear on the other side of the world. They were the first in a long line of people who would go on to love and support me through that journey and over the last ten years. Today I skied and laughed in Telluride with the sun on my face overflowing with gratitude to be able to use these legs to play in the outdoors. Sending love and positivity out to anyone who is going through a hard time right now…believe me no matter the current darkness there is so much light just around the corner. Keep believing in the power of a positive mindset. . . . #Thailand #burn #fire #mindset #positivity #gratitude #love #goals #lifegoals #Outdoor #explore #adventure #snow #ice #travel #wanderlust #climbing #climb #mountains #lifegoals #goBeyond #SevenSummits

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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.

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ANTARCTICA HERE I COME!!! The journey begins in a few hours as a Russian cargo plane will fly me onto the frozen continent. I’ve got 400lbs of gear with me that will be loaded into my sled and pulled behind me step by step as I aim to become the first person in history to cross the continent of Antarctica 🇦🇶 coast to coast via the South Pole, solo, unsupported (no resupply), and unaided (no kites or dogs). Years of dreaming and planning have all culminated in this moment as the journey finally comes to life. Without the brilliance of my loving wife @jennabesaw this project would have remained just a dream. Though I will be walking alone through the ice your heartbeat and spirit will be with me every step of the way. #TheImpossibleFirst #BePossible

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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.

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“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…” I suppose there is no saying more apropos than this one for me right now. With just a few days to go before I depart for the Frozen Continent, I’m busy ticking all of the last boxes on my to do list and double checking all of my gear. This has been well more than a year in the planning. Once I’m dropped off in Antarctica I’ll be completely alone with no resupplies, so every item I take with me is carefully considered and measured. But the first step in the journey happened long before my actually first steps on the ice. Turning dreams into reality requires daily dedication to your purpose even when the end goal seems far beyond the horizon. I want to hear about your dreams and goals. What are you now taking your “first steps” on, to one day turn into realty? #BePossible #TheImpossibleFirst

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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.”

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I made it!!! I officially set foot on the Frozen Continent today- 24 hrs earlier than expected. 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. This place is incredibly enchanting; my body has a visceral reaction to its beauty. My cheeks were literally sore for 15 minutes after landing as I could not wipe the smile off my face. There will be many hard days ahead, but today was joyful. The expedition itself has not begun quite yet. The first step is hitching a ride to the continent in this huge plane and landing on a 3 mile blue ice runway, near an encampment called Union Glacier where I am now. I am camping here awaiting good weather to be dropped off at my starting point. Once that happens, hopefully in the next couple of days, a small twin otter ski plane will take me to the edge of the continent. Then I will begin my crossing. For now, I’m resting my head for the first night in my tent in Antarctica, the first of many on the frozen ground. #TheImpossibleFirst #BePossible

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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.”


TAGSadventureantarcticaColin OBradyNewsThe Impossible FirstWorld record