ExWeb interview with 13-year-old Max Keene: Baffin Island sledge-hauling and getting to know the people

Posted: Jan 25, 2013 11:48 am EST

(Correne Coetzer) With the Antarctic season closing this week the Arctic adventurers are getting themselves ready for action.

In Siberia 50-something Mikael Strandberg and his team are busy with their last preparations for their trek with reindeer people. And in the UK 13-year-old Max Keene is pulling tires with his father, Chris, in preparation for their sledge-hauling ski expedition in the Canadian Arctic.

They, together with guide Robert Philips, plan a 130 km Baffin Island traverse in March, starting from Qikiqtarjuaq and ending at Pangnirtung.

In an interview with ExplorersWeb Max talked about his expectations of this fist and major adventure in his life, "I really hope to learn as much as possible from going on this trip and taking on such a huge challenge. I would like to find out as much about Baffin Island and the people who live there as possible and come away not only with a huge sense of achievement but also a greater understanding of a completely different way of life to my own."

ExplorersWeb: Where does the idea come from to do a sledge-hauling expedition?

Max: My Dad told me about a new tenant whose business organizes Arctic Expeditions. I found it really interesting and thought that it would be an exciting way for us to take on a huge challenge and at the same time raise money for Help For Heroes, a charity that I am very eager to support.

ExplorersWeb: Who is the other person in your team?

Max: Robert Philips of Cold Front Ltd will be our guide on the Expedition.

ExplorersWeb: Why did you choose Baffin Island?

Max: Rob who is our expedition organizer generally prefers to do expeditions in Baffin Island, but also Baffin Island is a beautiful place and I want to see it myself.

ExplorersWeb: You say on your website according to the Canadian authorities you will be the youngest person ever to achieve the crossing. Is this excluding the possibility of indigenous kids also traveling along this route?

Max: Yes, I will be the youngest non-native person to complete an Arctic ‘Expedition’ on this route.

ExplorersWeb: What preparation program do you have? How do you fit in the planning, preparation and training for the expedition with your schoolwork? Do you do other sport as well?

Max: The majority of training for the Expedition is pulling tires over a set distance. We also have theory lessons. It is difficult to fit in all of the training and planning as well as doing my homework, but I am just managing at the moment. I play football and rugby at school, I enjoy shooting (air rifle and shotgun) and Skiing as well.

ExplorersWeb: Are you a bit scared of what you want to do?

Max: Yes, I am slightly nervous, but I am more excited than anything else and have great confidence in my Dad and myself; I am sure we can do it!

ExplorersWeb: What are your favorite subjects at school?

Max: I enjoy Games and PE at school as well as German, English, History and Art.

ExplorersWeb: What do you have on your iPod? Will you take and iPod/smart phone with?

Max: Yes, I will be taking an iPod with me. I got an iPod for my birthday. We will not be taking a smart phone with us as there will be no important reason to take one, but we will take a satellite phone with us in case of an emergency.

ExplorersWeb: Your dad is going with you. How much is the rest of your family involved in this?

Max: My whole family are really supportive and giving me lots of encouragement with my training and everything involved in making the expedition successful.

Place of residence: Cheltenham
Family: Dad-Chris Keene, Mum-Emma Keene, Younger Brother-Sam Keene
Hobbies: Skiing, Leisure Swimming, Shooting (Clay Pigeons with Shotgun +Targets with Air Rifle)
Favorite music: Most mainstream music
Favorite movie: The Way Back or The Hurt Locker
Favorite food: Curry, Christmas Lunch
Latest read book: Harry’s Arctic Heroes
Dream destination: Switzerland (I go there on holiday and I am part Swiss)
1-2 people who inspire you: Men and Women who have served their country in combat.
Quote that inspires you: Believe you can and you’re halfway there. Theodore Roosevelt.
What would you say to your classmates to inspire them to push their limits: ‘Dare to do your best’ or in Latin ‘Quantum Potes Aude’ (St. Edwards School Motto)

Max's website

#Polar #topstory #interview

Max: "It is difficult to fit in all of the training and planning as well as doing my homework, but I am just managing at the moment."
Image by This is Gloucestershire courtesy This is Gloucestershire, SOURCE
Some equipment for Baffin Island.
courtesy Max Keene, SOURCE
Qikiqtarjuaq to Pangnirtung.
courtesy Max Keene, SOURCE

Visit our new website