Ripley Davenport gained international recognition a few months ago when he returned home to Denmark after an attempt to cross Mongolia solo by foot. Even though he didn´t make it all the way, due to an injury, his sheer determination and his emotional reports on the Internet made him a favorite adventurer to follow. It didn´t take long until he planned two new Expeditions. One going back to Mongolia already this upcoming May 2011. Second one, is a solo and unassisted crossing of the driest desert on earth, The Atacama in Chile, which is due January 2012.
The Gobi Desert
ExWeb:s Mikael Strandberg talked to Ripley in his home in Copenhagen, where he explained what he is planning:
"The first one is to trek across the fifth largest desert in the world and Asia's largest in the company of a superb international team from many different countries, cultures, backgrounds and interests. The expedition team will trek the entire 1000 miles / 1600 km of the Mongolian Gobi Desert alongside the Khongoryn Els, the largest and most spectacular sand dunes in Mongolia, from Bulgan a sum district of Khovd Province in the west, to Sainshand the capital city in Dornogovi province using a traditional method of desert transportation: the Bactrian Camel".
This isn´t the first time Ripley is using camels. In August 1998, he did a solo, unassisted crossing of the Namib Desert, alone, from Oranjemund to the border of Angola. 82 days. Together with 2 dromedaries, one humped camels.
"The other one is a project that I have been hiding up my sleeve for years and that is to walk across the Atacama Desert in Chile North to South. This will be the second in a series of seven expeditions that will be conducted alone and unassisted."
The mother of all trips
Ripley sees both of these Expeditions as a warm up, a Reconnaissance for the mother of all expeditions, to be dealt with sometime in the future. A trip which he keeps as a secret. First, the Gobi Desert.
"I know that the Gobi will reset a few minds in my team. Our journey is a real expedition with real people with moods and bodily smells. We have a chance to have a positive effect on our future generations and the wonderful world around us."
And than the Atacama, of which he says:
"The Atacama will be another solo expedition and one at altitude. Not only will I have to contend with the driest desert on earth there will be the isolation and altitude effect on my body. Ill be thrown back into the mix of a solo, unassisted expedition that will demand my very best."
We are looking forward to some long, emotional, truthful and inspiring reports!
Ripley Davenport, 40 years old is a Desert Explorer originally from the United Kingdom who came to prominence in the late 1990s after his successful crossing of the Namib Desert and Karakum Desert. As a record breaking explorer, Ripley has been a pioneering figure in pushing the envelope of desert adventure for many years.
In August 1998, Ripley completed a solo, unassisted crossing of the Namib Desert, alone, from Oranjemund to the border of Angola. Four months later, after crossing Namib, he crossed the Karakum Desert. The endeavour, both comprising a total of 108-day feat of extreme endurance, was noted as a significant step towards understanding human endurance in a desert environment.
He spent a considerable amount of time in Niger living with the Tuareg learning about their complex social structures and desert travel.
Shortly after, Ripley made a 3 week reconnaissance trip to the Thar Desert in India, the seventh largest in the world, to survey the area for a possible future expedition.
In April 2010, he had faced failure on his first attempt to cross Mongolia, in his all-consuming mission after three years of planning and training, due to a technical failure with the inner wheel components of his trailer. Ripley's second attempt at a solo walk across the vast landmass of Mongolia from east to west, started one month later in May. He covered a staggering 1628km / 1012 miles, in just 52 days, beating the current record.
He endured extreme temperature fluctuations, blizzards, sand storms, isolation, unrelenting desert heat, brutal terrain, several dog attacks, stomach cramps and sickness, and exhaustion. Ripley had managed to cross the Eastern Mongolian Steppe, Gobi Desert and the Altai Mountain Range, while hauling provisions and equipment weighing in excess of 240kg in a wheeled trailer, specifically designed for the journey.
Ripley, a British citizen residing in Denmark, is married to Laura. They have two children, Scott and Stella.
For over a decade Ripley has looked to the world beyond his horizon and endeavoured to engage with it. Having made a sound reputation as a skilled specialist, Ripley will continue to explore the great steppes and deserts of the world and strengthen the cultural divides and
document and illustrate the indigenous lives, far removed from our own, who have proudly continued their way of life regardless of the spectra of invading globalisation.
He also helps encourage people to reach beyond their perceived limits, and to use adventure as a medium to educate, inspire and empower each of us to understand the world beyond our borders and make positive change.
He is the founder of 3i EXPEDITIONS and an expedition leader and desert guide for Visit Mongolia and independently operates as a desert guide for private clients.
However, Ripley doesn't always wear desert walking boots. He served a in a special forces unit of the British Royal Navy and did a short term of service in the RAF Regiment, completing numerous specialist courses such as Ships Diver and Intelligence Photographer. He left
the military in 1997.
He is a qualified Search and Rescue Dog Handler, volunteering and training alongside the Search and Rescue Dog Association - S.A.R.D.A, and Redningshund Odense, Denmark with his black Labrador called Karmen.
He successfully completed other courses such as confined space rescue, EMT Medic, and Advanced Wilderness Survival and was a volunteer lifeboat crew member, for a brief period if time, with the Gorleston & Great Yarmouth Lifeboat and Great Yarmouth Coastwatch.
He has a Masters Degree in Environmental Science and DipEd in Conservation Biology and is currently studying different forms of the desert nomad lifestyle.
He is a proud inspirational ambassador with Impossible2Possible i2P and a sponsored athlete with the Endurance Trust.
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