SARAH McNAIR-LANDRY: POLAR GUIDE, ADVENTURER, FILMMAKER
Sarah McNair-Landry is as tough as nails. A National Geographic Adventurer of the year she grew up in Baffin Island (Canada’s arctic) and works as an arctic guide, instructor and filmmaker. Sarah skied to the South Pole aged 18, drove a dog team to the North Pole a year later and was the first woman to be recognised as a Master Polar Guide. She has guided clients to both poles, canoed through Mongolia, crossed the Gobi desert by kite-buggy and the Sahara by camel. She’s crossed the Greenland ice cap six times, including a 1,400-mile south-to-north kite-ski traverse in 2007.
She is stubborn, tenacious, highly skilled and has an incredible ability to suck it up and push on through even in the most challenging circumstances.
In 2016 Sarah, along with her boyfriend and kayaker Erik Boomer and paddler Ben Stookesberry, set out to find and kayak a barely-known Arctic river they had seen on Google Maps. They planned a 1,000km kite skiing/kayaking adventure of a lifetime across the Green land Ice Cap pulling 45-days worth of gear behind them.
To add an additional layer of complexity to the adventure the team documented the expedition. Despite having a film crew accompany them for the first 10 days and the final 18 days of the expedition Sarah was steadfast that the team receive absolutely no outside assistance – making the expedition fully self supported. Even if that meant refusing medical help after an accident early on in the expedition. For 800km of the journey over the ice they were completely alone with no camera team. They filming each other as they went often having to back track to get shots and lugging the extra weight of filming equipment with them.
On the river section, they trio would shuttle all of their skis, kite gear and winter gear down the river (taking on average three roundtrips), before being able to paddle. They had to shuttle all their gear to the end on foot, walking 6 km for every km they paddled. But Sarah wouldn’t have it any other way. Once she set’s her mind on a goal, it seems there really is no stopping her.