Horn, Mike 1966-

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Horn, Mike 1966-


Born July 16, 1966, in Johannesburg, South Africa; married; wife's name Cathy; children: Annika, Jessica. Education: Attended the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.


Home—Chateau-d'Oex, Switzerland. E-mail—[email protected]


Writer, traveler, explorer, athlete, public speaker, and adventurer. Worked as a ski instructor and a river and canyon guide. "No Limits" Outdoor Activity Sports Center, Switzerland, founder and owner, 1995. Works as a motivational conference speaker and lecturer. Worked as a seller of fruits and vegetables in South Africa.


Laureus World Sports Academy.


Multicocques Grand Prix winner; Laureus Award for Best Alternative Sportsman of the Year; Adventurer of the Year, Out There magazine; Toison d'Or, Dijon Film Festival.


Latitude Zero, XO, 2001.

(With Jean-Philippe Chatrier) Conquering the Impossible: My 12,000-Mile Journey around the Arctic Circle, translated by Antony Shugaar, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2007.


Explorer, athlete, and traveler Mike Horn is a well-known adventurer whose feats of strength and endurance have resulted in record-setting accomplishments in outdoor activity. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1966, Horn was an early participant in outdoor activities as a canyon guide, ski instructor, and river guide. Afterward, he began gradually ratcheting up the scope of his activities as they increased in danger, endurance, and accomplishment. A 1991 paragliding and rafting expedition in the Peruvian Andes led to an invitation to join the "Sector No Limits" sports team. His next feat was to travel down the Mont Blanc glacier on a body board, stopping at the French Riviera, noted a biographer on the Mike Horn Home Page. In 1995, the biographer reported, Horn broke the world record for the highest descent of a waterfall with a hydrospeed, accomplished on the Pacuare River in Costa Rica.

Horn undertook his first major expedition in 1997, when he set out on a six-month solo exploration of South America. He left the shores of the Pacific Ocean on foot, noted the home page biographer, climbed to the source of the Amazon river in the Andes Mountains, then sped the 7,000 miles down the Amazon on a hydrospeed to the Pacific Ocean. In 1999, he became the first man ever to circumnavigate the globe at the equator, a feat that took seventeen months, from June, 1999 to October, 2000. During the trip, Horn had no motorized transport; and relied solely on his feet, a mountain bike, and on small watercraft to propel him forward. Horn recounts the events of this record-setting trip in his first book, Latitude Zero.

A 2002 expedition to the North Pole was cut short due to a severe case of frostbite, but soon after he returned to the arctic climate where he undertook the first solo circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle. The trek took two years and three months to complete, but Horn finished and became the first man to accomplish it.

In Conquering the Impossible: My 12,000-Mile Journey around the Arctic Circle, Horn tells of the experience, the difficulties he experienced, and his ultimate triumph over nature in its harshest state. Horn sees his difficult adventures as rites of passage, and ways to expand his own experience and self-discipline, noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer, who concluded, "Readers will be grateful to share his experiences vicariously." In assessing the book, a Kirkus Reviews contributor stated: "Adventure extremists everywhere will be grateful for this vivid depiction of a one-of-a-kind quest."

Horn set another record under even harsher conditions in 2006, when he and noted Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland walked, in the depth of the sunless Arctic winter, some sixty days to become the first men to walk to the North Pole in the frigid darkness of the region's winter.



Geographical, June, 2006, Natalie Hoare, "South African Mike Horn and Borge Ousland of Norway Became the First People to Walk to the North Pole during the Arctic Winter Unassisted by Dogs or Machines," p. 10.

Independent (London, England), January 3, 2006, "Mike Horn: The Iceman Cometh," profile of Mike Horn.

Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2007, review of Conquering the Impossible: My 12,000-Mile Journey around the Arctic Circle.

Men's Fitness, October, 2005, Tyler Gray, "Out Cold: For World Explorer Mike Horn, There's No Such Thing as Impossible," p. 37.

National Geographic Adventure, February, 2006, "Dark Alliance: Can the World's Two Greatest Living Solo Explorers Share a Tent without Driving Each Other Crazy? Borge Ousland and Mike Horn Are about to Find Out on the First Ever Trek to the North Pole in the 24-hour Dark of Arctic Winter," p. 50.

Publishers Weekly, April 23, 2007, review of Conquering the Impossible, p. 37.


EW.com,http://www.ew.com/ (May 22, 2007), Gilbert Cruz, review of Conquering the Impossible, profile of Mike Horn.

MeteoWorld,http://www.wmo.ch/pages/publications/meteoworld/ (January 17, 2008), interview with Mike Horn.

Mike Horn Home Page,http://www.mikehorn.com (January 17, 2008).

Petzl Sport,http://en.petzl.com/ (January 17, 2008), biography of Mike Horn.

Switzerland.isyours.com,http://www.switzerland.isyours.com/ (January 17, 2008), biography of Mike Horn.