Malden Mills, manufacturer of Polartec fabrics, launched the Polartec Challenge ten years ago and offer adventurers trip funding and garments made with Polartec fabrics for their proposed adventure.
An international program, the Polartec Challenge highlights the most courageous and unusual outdoor undertakings dreamt up by ambitious teams who, in most cases, have to finance themselves.
Applications are evaluated on the basis of their vision, commitment and credibility. Prior winners have explored mountains, forests, caves, rivers, oceans and deserts around the globe by nearly every means imaginable.
This year the Polartec Challenge grant awarded 18 ventures.
Stephen Venables, British mountaineer and chairman of the Polartec Advisory Board, provides guidance for would-be adventurers. He said:
“We look for true adventure, a proposal which stretches our imaginations. For example, we’ve supported a trio who will attempt to climb the gigantic south wall of Mount. Nuptse, non-stop. They expect to take around three days so they’ll need to stop for a brew but sleeping’s out – they’re travelling so light they won’t even be carrying sleeping bags. Other exciting ventures include a desert traverse using camels and two kayakers who paddled the 1000 kilometres along the Antarctic Peninsula – a daunting feat, bearing in mind they had to battle through Antarctic ice for a month without any outside support.
“We like to make a difference to individuals and small groups who plan to tackle something very ambitious. We’ve also awarded grants twice where we think they have a deserving cause. Alun Hubbard, a British Glaciologist, is now on his second grant which is funding his forthcoming trip to circumnavigate Antarctica, by yacht, with impromptu climbs up remote mountains while at the same time conducting scientific research!”
Those planning an adventure for 2003 should tap into the Polartec website for an application form at http://www.polartec.com. Deadline for entries is September 2002. Yes, 2002.