Mike Horn (born 16 July 1966) is a South African-born Swiss professional explorer and adventurer. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa he currently resides in Château d'Oex, Switzerland. He studied Human Movement Science at Stellenbosch University in Western Cape, South Africa. Horn is currently undertaking his latest expedition Pole2Pole, a two-year circumnavigation of the globe via the two poles. Mike Horn became famous in 2001 after completing a one-year, 6-month solo journey around the equator without any motorised transport. In 2004 he completed a two-year, 3-month solo circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle, and in 2006 along with Norwegian explorer Børge Ousland, became the first men to travel without dog or motorised transport to the North Pole during winter, in permanent darkness.
In April 1997, Mike launched his first big expedition: the six-month solo traverse of the South American continent. He left on foot from the Pacific Ocean and climbed to the source of the Amazon River high in the Peruvian Andes. From here he descended the 7,000 km of the Amazon River on a hydrospeed, until he reached the Atlantic Ocean. It took him six months, solo and without assistance. Mike hunted, fished and survived off his environment. His finish point was the Atlantic Ocean where he finally tasted saltwater.
In 1999, Mike set off on an 18-month voyage to circle the equator on foot and by sailing. He left Gabon and crossed the Atlantic to Brazil on a 28-foot trimaran. He then crossed Brazil and Ecuador on bike, canoe and on foot. After that he crossed the Pacific Ocean reaching Indonesia via the Galapagos Islands and crossed Borneo and Sumatra on foot, before crossing the Indian Ocean. To finish the expedition, he crossed the African continent on foot through the Congo and Gabon. This was the first solo circumnavigation of the world around the Equator – unaided and with no engine-driven support.
In 2002–04, Mike went around the world on the Arctic Circle solo in an expedition dubbed “Arktos”. It was a solitary voyage of two years and three months without motorised transport (boat, kayak, ski kite and on foot) on a 20,000 kilometres (12,000 mi) odyssey. Mike left North Cape in Norway and went through Greenland, Canada, Alaska, Bering Strait and Russian Siberia before he reached North Cape. Mike spent time with the local people who had courageously adapted to the unforgiving environment.
In a world-first, Mike set off on a 60-day voyage on skis without dogs or motorised transportation during the Arctic night with Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland in 2006. From February to March they dragged pulkas from Cape Artichesky in Russia to the North Pole. For two months the pair walked in total darkness, and often on paper-thin ice.
In 2007, Mike and his team launched the Young Explorers Program. This program consisted in recruiting and then inviting young adults between the ages of 15 and 20 years old, from all over the world – to explore the Earth’s continents and travel across the planet’s oceans with the PANGAEA expedition sailing vessel. Close to 100 Young Explorers accompanied him to 12 hot spots around the world where they implemented ecological and social projects – following the motto “explore – learn – act”. Although this project ended in 2012, the Young Explorers – now young world ambassadors – continue to set in motion different types projects around the globe.
Driven To Explore
In May 2015, Mike Horn set off on the “Driven To Explore” expedition, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz. Leaving from Switzerland, Horn drove through 13 countries, reaching Pakistan where he attempted to summit K2 (8611 m) in the Karakoram mountain range.
In 2016, Horn set off on his latest expedition “Pole2Pole”, a two-year circumnavigation of the globe via the South and North Pole. On May 8, 2016, Mike left from his point of departure, The Yacht Club Monaco. H.S.H Prince Albert of Monaco II and Mercedes-Benz sponsored his trip. Mike will travel by land and his sailing vessel, Pangaea, from Africa to Antarctica, Oceania, Asia, the Arctic, and back to Europe. Horn’s current expedition Pole2Pole falls perfectly under three main themes: Adventure, Environment, and Sharing. On February 7 22:50 UT Mike Horn completed the longest ever solo, unsupported north-to-south traverse of Antarctica from the Princess Astrid Coast (lat -70.1015 lon 9.8249) to the Dumont D'urville Station (lat -66.6833 lon 139.9167) via the South Pole. He arrived at the pole on January 9, 2017. A total distance of 5100 km was covered utilizing kites and skis in 57 days.