Svalbard Expedition 2023 2 71

Eric and Mardi were exceptional guides on the adventure of a lifetime. I wrote an article about my Icetrek experience: https://www.washingtonpost.com...

Ed Kressie. USA (Svalbard Polar Expedition 2023)
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I went on a 9 day expedition in Svalbard with Icetrek and it was one of the best expeditions I have ever been on.

Eric and Mardi were incredible guides. They have a wealth of knowledge accumulated from lots of experience in the field. I have known Eric for a few years now and he has always been so generous with his hard earned wisdom.

I am preparing for a big solo expedition in the future and couldn't do it without Eric in my corner. On our expedition in Svalbard, they always had the most positive attitude, they kept things fun, and they looked out for the safety and well being of everyone on the team constantly.

Couldn't have asked for a better experience and I will definitely be going on more expeditions with Icetrek in the future.

Akshay Nanavati. USA (Svalbard Polar Expedition 2023)
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There are no guarantees in Adventure, uncertainty is the only certainty in the Arctic. Having the best polar guide in the world gives reassurance. Eric & Mardi were very organised pre-trip. Helpful preparation on Svalbard setting up tents, stoves etc. ensured everyone was ready. A nice ice-breaker too. All the supplied kit is A1. Once on the ice they knew when to engage, when to encourage and when to just watch the majesty of incredible views unfold. They were both great fun and able to take you up a notch too.

I had a great & memorable trip to Svalbard, made possible only by Icetrek’s expertise in a challenging environment. If you go extreme - go with the best !

Duncan Eadie. UK (Svalbard Polar Expedition 2023)
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Thanks for the trip, learnt a tonne from Eric, Heath and Mardi and definitely feel ready to prepare for my own expedition now. Guides are super experienced and always on hand to answer questions/show things and keep the team motivated. The trip is long enough you really get into the swing of an expedition and get a good range of weather which helps build experience. Sharing tents with different people also helps as you learn different ways of doing things.

Take your time prior to the trip to get your kit right would be my top advice, and check the joining days: the 2 days pre trip for sorting your kit and learning skills are before the date given on the website. I enjoyed the trip and loved seeing the mountains and the glacier, Svalbard is a pretty cool town too.

Definitely the best way to learn about polar travel!

Emma Barrett. UK (Svalbard Expedition 2022)
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Thanks again for a great trip. Very much enjoyed it – l learnt a lot from you and Ya, you looked after us incredibly well, and were fun and professional.

Thank you for providing the opportunity to an everyday person like me to get a taste of the alpine environment and its “asks” of human beings traveling through on snowshoes and skis. The week in the Snowy Mountains in such a prodigiously good snow season was fabulous, complete with emergency hut “lock-in” due to gale force winds & white-out, some good expedition tenting, clear blue skies and pristine, fresh snow.

Claire Murray. Australia (Australian Alps Winter Advanced 2022)
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Where do I even begin...

I have completely fallen in love with Polar Exploration. That was, hands down, the best expedition I have yet been on. I cannot thank you enough for the opportunity you provided for me and the discount you gave me so that I could have joined you on your Svalbard Expedition, even two years after our initial contact. I learnt so much and I am truly grateful to have met you all and to have been exposed to the wonders of your icy arctic world.

I felt this expedition and the exposure to this cold climate enabled me to put all that I have learnt through my career, thus far, to the test. The entire experience brought out the best in me and reassured me that I was on the right career track - phew! The adventure has made me even more hungry for the next big adventure and I know that I will return to the poles in the future to push myself further.

I must also mention that meeting Mardi was truly inspiring, she is the coolest gal, and it felt extremely reassuring to meet someone of the same age, that is so like minded and as passionate about extreme adventure. Amongst all the laughter, she taught me a great deal. She has such drive and I hope to reach her level of professionalism one day, she is truly inspiring. Maybe one day Mardi and I can plan our own wakko expedition somewhere mad - I think we would make a solid team.

Eric, it was incredibly influential to watch you in your element, amongst the Arctic wilderness. Thank you for your guidance and mentoring me.

Eliza Brown. UK (Svalbard Expedition 2022 #2)

Our adventure had everything! Near arctic winds, beautiful bluebird days, skiing, snowshoeing and mountain summits. We had an opportunity to be challenged and learn a lot of valuable cold weather expedition techniques & tips from an expert who has done it all many times. There was also plenty of time to talk of past and upcoming adventures whilst sipping on some whiskey. Having been on many adventurous trips all over the world, this trip was as enjoyable as any of them. Plenty of reasons to dream of a polar expedition and I would definitely travel with Icetrek again.

Damian Robson. Australia (Australian Alps Winter Advanced 2019)

I took a trip with Eric in the Australian Alps and had a fabulous time. Eric is one of the best, if not the best, Polar guides around. Eric has the perfect nature for guiding and is supportive, accessible and fun to be with and learn from. You won't be disappointed doing a trip with Icetrek!

Sacha Loutkovsky. Australia (Australian Alps Winter Novice 2019)
Sarah Sharp Icetrek

So awesome to have such a cruisy Aussie company running such world-class trips and tours in incredible places. You have a great way of making people feel very safe and comfortable while being challenged. And it is a credit to you, that everyday people like myself, can be with such an adventure/explorer legend in that wild environment. And although half the time I was like a 'stunned mullet’ hearing all your stories, I was totally in awe, but never felt intimidated.

Sarah Sharp. Australia (Australian Alps Winter Novice 2019)
Laura Waters Icetrek

Wow, what an incredible adventure! I always wanted to play 'polar explorer' and I got to do it on the Novice Icetrek trip around Mt Kosciuszko. Eric is an absolute legend - full of knowledge and experience, and with the communication and teaching skills necessary to impart that knowledge to the group. He's great company too and full of tales of derring do. An awesome trip. Thanks

Laura Waters. Australia (Australian Alps Winter Novice 2019)
Robin Vaudrey

I have enjoyed telling people of my experience and reminiscing about the great trip we had and the super team to have travelled with. I have felt a certain feeling of calm and peace ever since returning.

The best compliment that I can pay you is that if you were to put all your design experience and skills towards designing the ultimate polar guide, I feel that the result would be pretty close to describing you!

Robin Vaudrey. Belgium (Svalbard Polar Expedition 2019)
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Thanks so much for an amazing experience on the Novice Trek. The whole group seemed to gel really well which helped make the experience. I really enjoyed every bit of it. (Believe it or not, the day I enjoyed the most was when we ventured out into the blizzard). 

Andy Plackett. Australia (Australian Alps Winter Novice 2018)
Cordula Netzer

I would like to thank Eric for an unforgettable trip to the North Pole.
So, if you ever think of going there he’s the guide to be chosen.
Most likely the nowadays person with the most extensive experience in guiding this expedition.
His social skills paired with his humour are sort of a warranty certificate to make this journey a great success.
If you do have some more questions I would be happy to answer in person - cordula.netzer@usb.ch

Cordula Netzer. Germany (North Pole Ski Last Degree 2018)

Eric and his crew are the epitome of professional. I had a great experience skiing around Svalbard with Icetrek. Will definitely look to do more trips with Eric and Icetrek. Heath did an amazing job leading this trip, learned a ton and am looking forward to more adventures. Thanks again for having me.

Rob Berra. USA (Svalbard Training 2018)
Bobby Arbuckle

I just recently completed the Last Degree walk to the north pole guided by Eric, I had an amazing adventure. Although there were a few delays to start with this was without anything Icetrek could do but with everyone pulling together to sort the issue we were soon heading for the ice. 
I would say I am inexperienced with camping , sking and cold weather experience so Eric had his work cut out guiding me. He was patient and very well experienced which in turn made me feel safe and confident on the ice . 
I would recommend this experience to anyone and especially recommend Icetrek as your guides/organisers as I felt in good safe hands throughout the trip.

I will hopefully get time in future to use Icetrek again. 

Kindest regards.

Bobby Arbuckle. Scotland (North Pole Ski Last Degree 2018)
Lorenz Gurge

I just came back from "Last Degree Trip to North Pole". The whole trip was an incredible experience. Already getting to the starting point at 89° north was an adventure. 3 hrs flight to camp Barneo, then 25 min helicopter transfer. It was great to see with how much enthusiasm and professionalism these transports in an extremely unfriendly environment were executed by the Russian staff. Thereafter came the "meat" part of the trip: 6.5 days walking in a stunning, overwhelming nature, letting me feel like an ant. The guiding by Eric was EXTREMELY safe and client-oriented! We continuously took profit from Eric's 20Y experience in Arctic travelling and behaviour. It was great to see our progresses day by day. To my opinion, You do not have to be a SUPER-athlete to complete this trip. Some continuous training, stamina and tolerance to the cold will allow to enjoy it. I am happy to answer direct questions: lorenz.guerke@usb.ch

Lorenz Gürke. Switzerland (North Pole Ski Last Degree 2018)

Amazing knowledge on anything polar, Eric is the man for your next polar adventure!

Matthieu Tordeur. France (Svalbard Expedition 2018)

I know that I speak on behalf of all of us when I say that I had an absolute brilliant time, and that this was largely all due to you! In my experience, the expedition leader is the main factor that determines if a trip is average or excellent. This trip was OUTSTANDING, the weather actually made it more of an adventure, and I will definitely be back next year for your advanced course!

Lynda Prior. New Zealand (Australian Alps Novice Training 2017)

I just wanted to send you a note to again thank you from the bottom of my heart for our trip together to the North Pole. I simply could not have asked for a companion more experienced and professional who made the impossible possible for me in a totally alien environment, and I also could not have asked to be with anyone who was better company to be with and who could make even the torture and the cold seem enjoyable! I learned a huge amount from you Eric, not just about the technical aspects of trekking and surviving in -40C but also how to conduct oneself as a person. Your modesty about your skills and accomplishments and the way that you encouraged and pushed me beyond where I thought that I could go, but yet always knew when was the right time for me to stop or do something different, were really extraordinary.

John Mullen. Australia (North Pole Extreme Ski 2017)
Johnson Fiona

Eric - thank you for making the whole trip possible for us. I've had an absolute blast and have to pinch myself for reassurance that I really did make it to the North pole!

Fiona Johnson. UK (North Pole Flight 2017)

Just wanted to say thanks again so much for an awesome week, I learned an absolute heap and had a great time as well.

Scott Sears. UK (Australian Alps Advanced 2016)
Paul Hamesiter

We did extensive research about who the best guiding company would be for a 14 year old girl with a dream of skiing to the North Pole. Our conclusion was that Eric Philips and Icetrek was the stand-alone global leader when it comes to polar expeditions, not only in terms of extensive polar experience, but also a history in outdoor education and background in managing media productions in remote locations. Eric’s calm, patient and relaxed personality, mixed with his work ethic and professionalism made him the perfect team member and leader. No request was too hard. Both Jade and I finished our expedition with a huge amount of respect for Eric and sharing a friendship with him that will no doubt last a lifetime.

Paul Hameister. Australia. 46. Father (and team member) of Jade Hameister’s 150km expedition to the North Pole aged 14. (North Pole Exped 2016)

Eric is THE person to know when you are planning a trip to North Pole. In an environment where experience counts, it’s better to have the best men in the team! His experience was critical and very helpful when the conditions worsened the day we reached north pole. Last but not least, his breakfast combo is a bomb!! Food is important there ;)

Nacer Ibn Abdeljalil. Morocco (North Pole Exped 2015)

Many thanks for your help on the expedition. We finally made it and we really do appreciate the effort you put in to make it happen for us.

Paul Stewart. Australia (South Pole Emperor Odyssey 2014)

Thanks Eric for the amazing adventure, I've enjoyed every single moment of it. You're an inspiring and dedicated professional, always capable of keeping the team together. You made the impossible feel possible and within my reach.

Gianluca Morini. Italy (North Pole 2013)

The Commonwealth Team could not have had a better guide and I think we all reflected along the route how lucky we were and privately happy we had the 'bloke from Hobart'. We all appreciated your guidance and team spirit and certainly I haven't had as much fun with a guide along the route which made it all the more enjoyable, I have fantastic memories which will live for many years to come.

Simon Daglish. WWTW co-founder. UK (South Pole Allied Challenge 2013)

It was a great trip and well done to you for playing such a vital role in it's success!

Clark Carter. Australia (North Pole to Canada 2011)
De Mas

You're a professional, you behaved beautifully, taught me many things and I had fun with you.

Fabio DeMas. Italy (North Pole Odyssey 2012)

You were a consummate professional. Not only do you have the experience and ability – you are also one of the most patient people that I know. Your constant encouragement at all times was appreciated by all.

Paul Lewellen. England (North Pole Odyssey 2012)
Mc Donald

This is just a quick note to say thank you for providing me with one of the most fantastic weeks of my life and a life experience I will cherish for the rest of my days. I always felt comfortable in your care and guidance and felt we were assisted to achieve our goals but always within the boundaries of safety and you put us ahead of your own comforts. Above all, it was a lot of fun.

Don McDonald. Australia (North Pole Odyssey 2010)
Mc Carthy

Dear Eric, thanks for the adventure of a lifetime. Well organised, brilliantly executed and full of enthusiasm fun and drama. Your experience and competence made the recurrent challenges seem ' a walk in the park". To have a guide with the humour, experience and character displayed by you is rare. Everyone should do this sometime in their life!

Jon McCarthy. Australia (North Pole Odyssey 2010)

What an unforgettable trek you have given us. Granted you are running a business, but you give so much of yourself and so much more. We could never pay enough for the once in a lifetime adventure you gave us. We are humbled by your ability, experience, sense of humour and enthusiasm that you have shared, and then you took such good care of us. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you Eric for your kindness and generosity. I hope our paths will cross again.

Lyndy Burdet. USA (North Pole Explorer 2008)

Thank you for such a great trip. You helped make this our reality.

Alexis Browning. USA (North Pole Ceremony 2009)

Eric, I know I speak for the entire team when I say that you are the best guide on the planet and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to spend time with you on the ice. I learned so much from you -- and I will always be grateful to you for your leadership during this trip.

Alison Levine. USA (South Pole Messner Route 2007-08)

Your dedication to do things right is outstanding. In our hearts we know you are the very best guide there is. You gave us such unforgettable, wonderful memories. Within me I still feel the appreciation for you taking such good care of us.

Heinz Fischer. USA (North Pole Explorer 2008)

Eric, lots of thanks for helping me to realise my big dream!!

Merete Spilling Gjertsen. Norway (South Pole Messner Route 2007-08)

I learnt a lot about myself and my limitations and how far I can push myself, which is further than I had imagined. I really enjoyed the friendships and the team aspects, it was a trip of a lifetime and I feel I would like to visit the 'backyard of ice' again sometime in the future.

Paul Bonney. Australia (North Pole Extreme 2007)

I think Eric was born to do this and did a tremendous job in balancing the need to maintain safety, push us to achieve our goal and have a good time. I gained valuable experience and a greater clarity in the direction of my life, good friends, an experience to tell my grandchildren about in 60 years and buns of steel.

Rob Knight. Australia (North Pole Extreme 2007)

I’d like to thank Icetrek and in particular, Eric Philips, for helping me extreme ski to the North Pole and realise a life long goal. Discovering the unknown & experiencing one of the last true frontiers on earth is really a dream come true for me. The mind blowing icescape that is the North Pole is a visual memory that will stay with me forever. After nine days of navigating huge amounts of open water (leads), ice rubble & experiencing gale force winds and - 30 degree temperatures, Eric got us there not only safely & soundly, but one day ahead of schedule. Never did I feel fearful, even tho pushing myself to the limits. The experience was not only TOTALLY exhilarating, but extremely achievable. As a consequence, I have returned home a stronger person (not only physically), but mentally, knowing now that I am capable of achieving anything I truly put my mind to. Eric, I just want to say thank you for that.

Louise Allard. Australia (North Pole Extreme 2006)

When I think about North Pole, the 2 things that spontaneously flash in my mind are the spectacular beauty that my eyes and heart had the privilege to see/cherish/experience for 10 days and the friendly team that was always volunteering to help with a persistent smile stuck on their faces. I wish I could describe how much these great memories would mean. Thank you so much for this wonderful experience.

Sara Kameswaran. India (North Pole Extreme 2007)

At Longyearbyen, Eric reviewed my equipment and gave advice and encouragement. He arranged for us to get one of the four window seats in the transport to Borneo.The cold was intense, but with proper preparation, caution and the right equipment, quite manageable. Arriving at the Pole was far more rewarding than I imagined. I was prepared for the ice and the cold and the joy of reaching our destination. I was not prepared for the wonderful people I would meet, and the ways by which making their acquaintance would make the trip even more incredible. I was coincidentally able to meet some wonderful, adventurous people who accepted me as an equal. It was the trip of a lifetime. My wife said that for the first time in my life, I was rendered speechless when I tried to explain the experience.

Richard Laronde. USA (North Pole Odyssey 2006)
Le Souef

The last degree trek to the North Pole was both physically and mentally arduous, but the planning and execution represented the most rewarding and satisfying experience possible in an area of unimaginable beauty. Easily, the best physical activity I have ever done!

Carl LeSouef. Australia (North Pole Extreme 2006)

My name is Tom Smit, in 2004 I went with Eric and some other crazy Aussies on a last degree trip to the North pole. To me it's one of the exceptional things in life I have done, we had a great time and Eric was very helpful arranging good weather! He is a very good guide, experienced and knowledgeable about the Arctic. When you have the chance to do this trip, just do it!

Tom Smit. Netherlands (North Pole Extreme 2004)

Many thanks for your efforts in getting me there. The whole experience of Svalbard, the activities there, the people I met and finally getting to the North Pole after so much 'hurry up and waiting' was pretty amazing.

Tony Fosgate. England (North Pole Direct 2005)
Mc Fadyen

I had the pleasure of having Eric Philips guide me on my successful North Pole expedition in 2005. His ability, professionalism and knowledge all combined to make my experience in the high Arctic one I will treasure for the rest of my life. I have the highest recommendation for Icetrek and Eric as a guide; his ongoing success rate in an environment where others have failed is a testament to his amazing talent.

Matthew McFadyen. Australia (North Pole Extreme 2005)
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