Wilmette teen youngest to reach North Pole

April 27, 2010 5:48:36 AM PDT
Wilmette teen Taylor Sweitzer has survived chilly temperatures, frigid expanses of open water, and grueling 12 hour days to be the youngest person to successfully ski the "Last Degree" over the ice and reach the North Pole. Taylor Sweitzer is the son of Helen and Rick Sweitzer of Wilmette, Illinois. His father owns The Northwest Passage and Polar Explorers, two adventure travel companies based in Wilmette. Taylor attends New Trier High School, which granted him special permission to participate in the journey to the North Pole.

His journey on the ice was marked by extreme conditions which included both icy cold of minus 30 degrees Celsius and unusually warm weather which may be traced to global warming. Because of the unnaturally high temperatures, the ice was broken by many stretches of open water, challenging his skills and requiring risky crossings between ice pans, one of which resulted in a near-miss when he slipped partway into the frigid waters of the Arctic sea.

Taylor hopes that his trip to the North Pole will inspire other teens to stretch their limits and to appreciate the natural wonders of our planet before they may change forever; some experts expect that arctic expeditions may no longer be possible due to the diminishing ice as early as 2030.

ABOUT TAYLOR SWEITZER
Birthdate: July 23rd, 1994
Birthplace: Wilmette, IL
Parents: Helen and Rick Sweitzer
Hometown: Wilmette, IL
School: New Trier High School
Future Plans: Slated to study in Switzerland in 2011 as part of an AFS program


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