Horn Mike (South Africa)
Mike Horn was born in Johannesburg in South Africa on the 16th of July 1966. After studying Human Movement Science at the University of Stellenbosch, he left South Africa in 1990 to travel to Europe, where he started work as a ski instructor, river and canyoning guide.
In 1991, he left for a paragliding and rafting expedition in the Peruvian Andes. On his return he was asked to become a member of the Sector No Limits sports team and shortly after descended the Mont Blanc Glacier on a body board ending at the French Riviera.
In 1995, Mike opened the No Limits Outdoor Activity Sports Center in Switzerland. It was during this time that Mike broke the world record for the highest descent of a waterfall with a hydrospeed, on the Pacuare River in Costa Rica (22m). In 1997, Mike launched his first big expedition: the 6 month solo traverse of the South American continent. He left on foot from the Pacific Ocean and climbed to the source of the Amazon River high in the Peruvian Andes. From here he descended the 7000 km of river on a hydospeed until he reached the Atlantic Ocean.
Since then, Mike has become fascinated by yet another sport : sailing. With the best of professors, Laurent Bourgnon, they won the Multicocques Grand Prix. After this he was asked to join the crew on Mari Cha III, a 45m monohull, as wincher, a position requiring great physical straight. Much to their delight they beat the transatlantic world record by 2 days and 14 hours.
In 1999, Mike launched his biggest adventure : the circumnavigation of the world along the equator. He baptized the expedition Latitude Zero, around the world solitaire in 17 months, from June 1999 to October 2000, and without any motorized transport. Mike is the first man ever to achieve such a feat and has since become internationally renown and has received many merits and prizes, namely the "Laureus Award" for best Alternative Sportsman of the Year, Adventurer of the Year for the Outthere magazine and the Toison d'Or for the film festival in Dijon.
The next expedition was in 2002, when Mike attempted a solo and unassisted crossing of the North Pole. Much to his disappointment, this trip was aborted 45 days later because of bad frostbite to his fingers.
One month after having the tips of his fingers amputated, Mike set off again, and this time on his biggest adventure: the circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle, solo and without the aid of any motorised transport or dogs. This expedition was called "Arktos" and took Mike 2 years and 3 months to complete, once again setting another record by being the first ever person to complete, non-stop, the 20,000 km route around the Arctic Circle, enduring two harsh Arctic winters with temperatures reaching as low as -60°C.
With still a strong desire to reach the North Pole itself, Mike - along with Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland - decided to reach the North Pole on foot. On the 23rd of March 2006, after 60 days and 5 hours of walking, Mike and Borge finally accomplished what they set out to achieve. They are the first people ever to walk to the North Pole in the sunless Arctic winter, walking 10-12 hours a day pulling their sledges laden with 160kg of equipment in the extreme Arctic temperatures and in 24 hours of complete darkness for the majority of the expedition. This expedition creates a new chapter in Arctic History.
Mike is married to Cathy, who supports him in all his projects and helps with organization, logistics, nutrition and communication. They have two girls, Annika and Jessica.
- 1997-1998: Amazon Expedition
- 1999-2000: Latitude 0
- 2002-2004: Arktos
- 2006: North Pole expedition