I first met Paul Landry in 1982 when we worked at Outward Bound. Over the next eight years we logged a few paddling miles, ran dog teams in Northern Ontario and Baffin Island and occasionally downed assorted Canadian beers with one another, although Paul was partial to scotch. When we left Outward Bound Paul moved to Iqaluit, the capital of Baffin Island, but before settling there managed to get in a dog sledding expedition circumnavigating the entire island. That was no small feat given it’s the fifth largest island in the world. He hasn’t stopped since, recording three expeditions to the South Pole, four expeditions to the North Pole and three expeditions traversing the Greenland Ice Cap.
If that wasn’t enough, Sunday it was reported that Paul just became the first Canadian to reach the geographic center of Antarctica, known as the Point Of Inaccessibility (POI). The 47-day journey, led by Paul, was the first time anyone had reached the POI without mechanical assistance. Only two other expeditions have ever reached the southernmost continent’s center. Both were Russian expeditions; one in 1958 and the other in 1967.
Paul and his three compatriots skied and kite-skied nearly 1400 miles from their starting point in Novo, on Antarctica’s coast, to reach the POI. Their last day involved a 24-hour push, covering over 100 miles.
While standing at the POI Paul said, “For me, it’s a bit of a hidden paradise. I’m passionate about kiting and I’m passionate about polar travel and when you put the two together, it all kinds of blends into the ideal expedition.” Typical Paul, humble to a fault. By the way, yesterday at 17.00 the temperature at the POI was a mind-numbing minus 40 degrees C and the wind chill was minus 63 degrees C.