No Such Thing as Failure: My Life in Adventure, Exploration, and Survival
Ranking alongside Ranulph Fiennes and Chris Bonnington in the pantheon of British explorers, David Hempleman-Adams is the first person in history to achieve what is termed the Adventurers' Grand Slam, by reaching the Geographic and Magnetic North and South Poles as well as climbing the highest peaks on all seven continents. But this feat is merely tip of the iceberg. Having reaching the summit of Everest on the more difficult north side and flown across the Atlantic in a an open wicker basket hot-air balloon, Hempleman-Adams is without question of the hardest, toughest, most fearless men to push the limits of human survival.
The question Hempleman-Adams is most often asked is, simply: what drives him on? Why risk frostbite pulling a sledge to the North Pole? Why experience the Death Zone on Everest? Why fly in the tiny basket of a precarious balloon across the Atlantic? Is it simply the case that he likes to push himself to the limits, or is there something more to it?
No Such Thing as Failure answers these questions and more, uncovering what drives arguably the world's greatest adventurer.
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found I was encountering increasing amounts of sticky brown ice, which I suspected might mean I would soon come to open water, so I made a detour towards the actual shore. I was about three hundred yards from it when suddenly my right leg and ski plunged through the ice and into the freezing ocean beneath, sending me lurching over and ice-cold water shooting up my leg. Shouting out in panic I managed to get some purchase to upright myself and pull my leg free, and then scramble to some firmer ice
then on I kept my Argos switched on so that they would find me. I was excited about going home, but now utterly exhausted and past caring exactly where I was, so I placed the beacon and flares on top of my sledge and pitched my tent. Within minutes it seemed the plane was there, tipping its wings to indicate it had seen me, and landing on a flat bed of ice nearby. The first question I faced was why I’d walked 10 miles further than I needed to, at which point the truth dawned on me that they’d had
checks on my equipment. The Argos was so essential because Annie Kershaw had called me into her office to warn me that, without a signal from me within twenty-four hours of setting out, they would come and pick me up, no ifs or buts. Despite my arguments that it could be due to something trivial like a flat battery or sun spots she was adamant that at �65,000 a time they would only be making one rescue journey. Finally on 6 November Fyodor and myself were flown out, along with Geoff Somers who
tobacco, which for a heavy smoker such as Rune was a disaster of almost unimaginable proportions. He was deeply embarrassed and determined we must set out anyway, but I knew how important this was to him and insisted we should wait for a couple of days until the plane returned with a Dutch expedition that was setting out just after us. When dreadful blizzards set in however, those two days became eight before we finally left, even if Rune was now happily puffing away. I could hardly complain
type of person to my other adventuring: lovely and quirky, perhaps more thoughtful, the sort of people who like the challenge of working together as part of a genuine team effort. Having said that, I really only started ballooning for just the one flight. With most climbing and polar trekking you have to learn your trade as you go along, but I didn’t get my balloon pilot’s licence just to fly around England or anything like that, although I’ve done a fair bit of it since, but purely to attempt