Their goal was to complete 700km in 30 days. In the face of much adversity, the expedition finally made it home to Paris, having being trapped at the finish line without food, and unable to extract themselves due to bad weather.
You can read about those final few days here, and how Maxime Lainé reflected on the journey here.
Before leaving, Max and the Engagés team had to make key decisions regarding the kit that they would carry. One of those choices regarded timekeeping, and Max shares his experience of using a Nixon Regulus watch below.
The is the most impactful experience of my life… for now.
I crossed Greenland, from west to east, along the Polar Circle with 4 other entrepreneurs. It took 31 days to cross more than 550 kilometres of ice by foot, experiencing the harshest environment we had never faced. For this reason, we invested 6 months of preparation, mentally, physically, and planning our equipment. We tested and choose every piece of our equipment very carefully because eventually, our lives could depend on it.
We are very touched that some companies supported us in this crazy adventure, all in their own way. This was the case for Nixon, the watch brand. Via my role as co-founder of Weesurf, I have already had the chance to work with them.
I was very impressed by their will to take risk, and to give a chance to a young startup. That’s what I liked. As such, I decided to knock to their door again, this time with the opportunity to share with them another, but a very different adventure.
Juliette, Angélique and Louis from Nixon, provided each member of the Engagés team with the Nixon Regulus 46MM.
This watch was with us throughout our adventure, it faced the same extreme conditions that we faced, and today I’m still wearing it in one piece as I write this article (which isn’t the case for my toes). For this reason, I want to share with you some key points about this watch, and what makes it’s different.
This is the most resistant watch I have ever had. As a surfer, I used to have a lot of them, but no other had ever convinced me that it is truly resistant. We were consistently facing extreme temperatures reaching up to -40°C, and still I never had any battery or display problems.
At first glance, it might look quite heavy, but is actually surprisingly light. For obvious reasons, this was a key point for us, we needed to carry as little weight as possible. The Regulus passed the test.
The Regulus has what you need: a clock, stopwatch, alarm and timer. However, there is one feature that I particularly appreciate, much like the world clock on our phone, you can set two different times. It was very helpful for us to know what time it was in France, when we wanted and needed to think about our friends and family. When we were thinking about what they were doing at that very moment while we were on our side of the world facing the harsh environment. It helped us keep moving forwards, no matter what. It helped us overcome those daily challenges, and make it to the other side of Greenland.
Throughout the whole expedition, I didn’t take it off, when were setting up the camp, when we were walking, when we were sleeping, when we were cooking, when we were fixing stuff… it never broke. There is an extra element that keeps the bracelet well locked, as if it was made from just one piece, so it fits perfectly to your wrist.
The watch might look quite big off the wrist, but the buttons are smoothly incorporated into the watch, so clothes did not stuck when we had to remove or put them on quickly. More than anything, the buttons are easy to tap, even when wearing gloves. This is a huge advantage because that last thing that you want to do is remove our several pairs of gloves when it was -40C.
Robust and modest. It just rocks.
If you would like to find out more about the Nixon Regulus, then you can do so here.
Female Indian climbers, a growing demographic, will one day be known by many.
Adventure sports are rarely seen or heard of in mainstream news in India, unless we win a gold or a silver at a World Championship. Climbing as a subset of that goes completely unnoticed. When it’s talked about, it’s mainly as a male sport, even globally. We know very little on female Indian climbers, who’re equally winning medals and traveling the world for the love of this sport.
She battled against cancer but that didn’t stop her.
Climbing has seen a transition from requiring physical strength to needing more of logical thinking. When climbing a wall or a rock, one has to be tactical and efficient. In this light, it isn’t hard to imagine that such a sport can be enjoyed and perfected by anyone, man or woman. That’s how some Indian girls gained confidence to try climbing, and led the way for others to take up the sport. A few of them had support systems, and others had to battle it out with their families and the social context. But none of them gave up on climbing.
Here are some female Indian climbing champions who love what they do and are spread across India from J&K all the way down to Karnataka.
Shivani Charak, J&K
17-year-old Shivani comes from a humble background of Dharmal, Jammu where she studied at a local government school in Domana. At the beginning of her sports career, she battled against cancer but that didn’t stop her from going after her childhood dream of becoming a professional climber. She received tremendous support from parents, her coach at Shining Star Academy, and the local school principal and staff members. Such a strong support system did wonders for her climbing journey. IMF nominated her for national competitions and she brought a handful of gold, silver, and bronze medals for the state. Later, she went to Italy, Switzerland, and Slovenia to train for the World Cup and was ranked 7th in the championship. She also participated in Asia Cup, bagged 11th rank in bouldering, and was recognized as a national champion in speed climbing. This is no small feat for a young girl from Jammu who battled cancer.
Shivpreet Pannu, Amritsar
Shivpreet won her first national bronze medal at the age of 11. Since then, it’s been seven years of hardcore climbing that got her 37 medals in total. That’s not bad for someone whose hometown lacks the ecosystem for climbing. Shivpreet, however, was smart enough to turn challenge into opportunity, and began traveling alone to Delhi for training on a regular basis. Her gratitude goes out to Adarsh Singh, a fellow climber, who inspires her with his humility and incredible support. In this journey, Shivpreet has been a national speed climbing champion for the last three years, and has participated in Asian Youth Championship, Asian Cup, and Asian Games. In 2014, she broke her wrist but that didn’t stop her from getting back on the wall a year later. She has been determined and perseverant in this ride, and it shows.
Vrinda Bhageria, New Delhi
For Vrinda, climbing is a way of life. She definitely didn’t have the easiest time as someone who has to fight the idea of body image, having felt overweight as a child. Vrinda picked up climbing and realized how it positively changed her perception, even though it was hard initially. Vrinda, now 28 years old, has been climbing for seven years and has experienced rocks in Leh and Karnataka in India and also those in foreign lands including Italy, Germany, Greece, Thailand, Bulgaria, and South Africa. For her, climbing is about overcoming challenges, big or small. It is also a way to meet people who climb just for the love of it. It inspired her to start Boulder Box, a bouldering centre in New Delhi, which promotes the idea of movement in climbing, irrespective of gender, age, or physical ability. India definitely needs a stronger ecosystem with accessible avenues, and Vrinda is on her way to make that real.
Shreya was 13 when she bagged one of the four medals won at the Asian Youth Championship. She is 16 years old now, and for her, five years of climbing has been a significantly fulfilling journey. When she won a silver medal at the age of 11, she knew that she wanted to continue the sport. A permanent member of the Indian Sports Climbing Team, Shreya spends her day studying and climbing to make sure she doesn’t compromise one or the other. Moreover, everyone is happy so she can continue climbing without any complaints from others. Her stringent routine paid off and in 2016, IMF awarded her as the Best Female Athlete of the Year. With gold and silver and bronze medals at several Zonal, National, and International competitions, Shreya is certain to make climbing an important part of her future.
Sneha Sanjay Deogharkar, Mumbai
Sneha wanted to spend her evenings after work in the climbing gym, but her parents wanted her to get married.
Sneha started climbing for fitness at the age of 26. Usually, that’s the age to get settled for a girl. Her parents initially discouraged her from pursuing this sport and considered it dangerous. Sneha wanted to spend her evenings after work in the climbing gym, but her parents wanted her to get married. She finally chose climbing over marriage and has been doing that for four years now. Ranjit Shinde, a national champion, recognized her efforts and supported her to take it seriously. Then she won 3rd rank in Zonal Bouldering Competition (West Zone) and 6th rank in IMF’s National Sport Climbing Championship Competition in Bangalore in 2016. Finally, climbing didn’t turn out to be such a bad choice for Sneha. She loves the outdoors and enjoys boulders in Hampi, Badami and Manali. After years of climbing, she has rough hands, callused fingers, big muscles, and bunion toes, but none of that matters because climbing makes her happy. When marriage does happen for her, it’s anyway a great way for Sneha to see if her partner is a good fit!
Siddhi Shekhar Manerikar, Mumbai
“She is a girl, why would you let her go climbing and travel alone?”
When Siddhi went climbing, neighbors would discourage her mother from sending her alone. “She is a girl, why would you let her go climbing and travel alone?” they would say. But Siddhi’s mother didn’t care for that, and simply supported her throughout her climbing career. Initially, Siddhi had to explain climbing to others, given the lack of awareness. But as she continued to excel in the sport, people’s interest grew as they gained more knowledge about climbing. She began in 2010, and this 22-year old has already played a total of 16 Zonal and National championships, along with 6 International championships including 2 World Cups. In 2017, she was included in the world ranking and will participate in Asian Games in 2018 and the Olympics in 2020. Siddhi is a girl climber and totally okay to travel the world!
Prateeksha Arun, Bangalore
Prateeksha began training a lot harder after competing in World Cup 2017. She saw how a team of national champions was nowhere close to the standards of competitors from other countries in the championship. She feels that India has great climbers but they are forced to cope with poor infrastructure. But it also means that they have to keep trying harder to set new standards and transform culture. Her mom’s go-getter attitude means a lot to Prateeksha and she feels fortunate to have parents who support her choices. Many of her friends’ parents do not encourage their children to pursue climbing as a serious option. May be the kids should take out their parents for climbing, just so they can experience how much fun it can be. Prateeksha’s father is a climber too, and that surely worked out well for her. She is 19 and has been climbing for ten years. She has won several national medals and is currently the National Champion in Bouldering. Soon, she will be on her way to Austria to compete in the World Championship in September.
From harassment within the climbing industry to deaths and environmental degradation in India. Furthering conversation on deep-rooted problems within the wider outdoor community, to Outdoor Moms, and explaining an unexplained tragedy.