Carmichael Todd (USA)

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Carmichael Todd

Carmichael Todd

© Carmichael Todd

Todd Carmichael is a brilliant American businessman having succeeded in the coffee roasting business to be precise. Conquering the South Pole has long been one of his dreams.

Born in 1963, this resident of Gladwyne got married with a Philadelphian rock star on the Zambezi River and has two children.

So there's no problem for this American to indulge in somewhat crazy dreams. Among them, there has always been the attraction of remote regions, and especially the Polar Regions. He is thought to have announced, when he was barely in his teens and had just read of Robert Falcon Scott's odyssey to the South Pole, that he would himself set foot on that particular part of the world one day. Furthermore, throughout his three Antarctic odysseys, Todd Carmichael never concealed the fact that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of the famous pioneers who preceded him. Up to now, no American has ever succeeded in getting to the South Pole from the Antarctic coast (Hercules Inlet) unaided. Todd Carmichael, however, has always felt he had it in him to succeed and started out in quest of the feat.

In 2004, he took a first step by getting as far as the last degree. As he thought that this was already a bit of a feat, he publicised his voyage and drew the attention of the media to the extinction of a species of primate, the orangutan (easy for him to do because of his fame and his newsworthy marriage). He became acquainted with the no less famous Biruté Galdikas and has, for several years, contributed to her association (Orangutan Foundation International) in order to pay the rangers of her faraway station established in the deepest jungle of Tanjung Puting National Park (see National Parks in Indonesia). In the USA, he is taken for one of those eccentric millionaires who has the possibility of doing eccentric things; this time, they're in the presence of a soft character who will walk over the Antarctic ice in order to help the orangutans of Borneo!

In 2007, he returned to the Antarctic. With his guide, Jason De Carteret, he attempted the Hercules - South Pole trek at the same time as the speed record. A few days later, the guide had to be taken away because of serious injuries to his foot. Todd continued alone. On the 24th day of his trek, when he had just crossed Degree 84, Carmichael gave up (too much snow and incessant storms), swearing to do it all again.

As he has no problem finding sponsors, he decided to return in 2008 on the same itinerary. Just as the year before, he continues to raise public interest in the plight of the orangutans, but he has added an asterisk to his awareness-raising programme: that of climate change and the fragility of the Polar Regions. This time around, he is not intending on being accompanied by anyone. Todd is going on his own, without being re-supplied, without the assistance of powerkites and with always the same theme: a speed record over the distance.

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