With a penchant for exploration, French adventurer Vincent Colliard is one of the most accomplished polar explorers of our generation whose numbered expeditions include the current crossing of the 20 largest icecaps on earth. He represents a new breed of athlete willing to bridge adventure and science, and inspire environmental give-back on a global scale.
Vincent grew up in the Basque region between the voice of the Pyrenees mountains and the call of the Atlantic Ocean. After reading some adventure stories at the age of 17, he had a dream of exploring the most remote places on earth.
Before becoming a professional explorer in 2014, Vincent remembers few adventures which stood out of his mind.
Two of his first mountaineering expeditions led him to climb a new route on a virgin 6000 meters peak in the Himalayas. The instability of the rocks and the avalanches had the team and Vincent to turn back and to go home. Later on, Vincent realised that success would probably come if he was able to go from one failure to another keeping his enthusiasm.
Patagonia was another key expedition. Vincent was skiing unsupported partially across the Southern icecap. While carrying heavy backpacks on the ice, one expedition member lost his balance and the front spike of his crampons went through Vincent ‘ ski boots. It fractured his foot. He had to continue skiing 10h/day for 2 weeks to reach civilization but discovered his unsuspected resources.
Vincent had the great opportunity to join Borge Ousland in 2010 sailing around the North Pole in one single season. Through the North West passage, they sailed for 25 days, what took 3 years for Amundsen only a century ago, and because of the ice retreat. That was a huge eye opening experience for Vincent.
In 2014, Vincent and Borge created the project Icelegacy, an ongoing series of expeditions crossing the 20 largest ice caps on the planet over the course of the next 10 to 15 years. Their goals are to explore these melting ice fields, raise awareness and initiate long term activism towards the conservation of these huge sources of fresh water and the eco systems living around them.
Icelegacy is Vincent’s current main project. For him, the environmental changes should be at the pinnacle of our preoccupations.