Taking on Project Patagonia: The Tempest Two
At Summit to Eat, we create nutritious adventure freeze dried meals designed to help people see more of the world, break boundaries and achieve their goals.
And what greater goal to have in your sights than a world-first; an ultra-triathlon in the surroundings of one of the most stunning environments on earth, the mountains, glaciers and rivers of Patagonia.
Meet the duo behind the goal: Tom Caulfield and James Whittle, otherwise known as The Tempest Two. They’ve recently returned from the breath-taking (at times literally) region following their gruelling challenge – a 1600km cycle, a 65km run and a 200km stand up paddle.
The reason? “Our goal was to show what is possible if body and mind are applied to a task in unison. Patagonia appealed to us because it’s an incredible place we had been drawn to for a while,” says Tom.
“The word ‘adventure’ means different things to different people,” says James. “For us, we see adventure as a path to grow, learn and re-draw the line of what we perceive to be our limit.
“Project Patagonia has been our most ambitious undertaking yet, and just to add to the challenge, neither of us had ever ran more than 20km, are not elite cyclists and had never paddle-boarded in our lives.”
After a rocky start (mainly due to the inconvenient scenario of their bikes being held by Argentinian customs) they began the first leg of their journey in the town of Esquel. Cycling through remote landscapes and isolated villages, they battled the elements, rough terrain, diversions, punctures and cold temperatures.
“One of the most incredible things about Patagonia is the contrasting environments you can find yourself in. A day of riding took us from the snow-crested mountains, littered with waterfalls, rivers and forest, to an orange desert filled with towering faces of rock,” says Tom.
“The nights were cold, and the wind was playing havoc with our tent. Often we would spend the entire night awake, with the side of the tent horizontal against our faces, shivering until our alarm sounded and we groggily stepped out to start another day of riding.”
After eight days, they eventually made it to El Chalten, the starting point for leg two and a 65km run around the Huemul Circuit. Naturally the challenges continued, this time in the form of boggy ground, snow, ice, and risky river crossings.
The third and final stage saw the intrepid twosome aiming to become the first people to stand up paddle-board between two glacial lakes: Viedma and Argertino, as well as the La Leona river which joins both (named after the incident in which Argentinian explorer Francisco P. Moreno was killed by a female puma (Leona) in 1894).
Blighted by strong winds, icy waters and rapids-induced whirlpools, knowing the end was in sight was enough to pull them through. “The feeling of being so close was all the motivation we needed. No matter what weather was thrown at us, we were making the finish-line that day, by any means possible,” James recalls.
And make the finish-line they did. “Our faces were red and swollen from the punishment from the wind, our legs and feet were in the worst shape of our lives, and we were mentally exhausted, but we had never felt more alive.”
As for the food, it’s fair to say the guys were pretty impressed with Summit to Eat’s delicious range of adventure meals which they relied upon to fuel their awesome adventure. “When we take on adventures, we take nutrition very seriously. When you are pushing yourself to the limit, it’s key to have a warm meal to look forward to that not only tastes great, but replenishes you.
“Having used it as the fuel for our world-first adventure, Summit To Eat is without a doubt the best freeze-dried meal range we have come across, and we have tried various.”
Now that Project Patagonia is complete and The Tempest Two have conquered their mighty goal, how do they feel about what they’ve achieved?
“There were times over those three weeks where we wanted to simply give up, and be back at home, safe and secure, but those thoughts were few and far between. Looking back now, from the safety and security of that very home we longed for, we crave adventure.
“For now though, we rest up and recover. Then, we go again…”
The Tempest Two relied upon Summit to Eat’s tasty, nutritious adventure meals to help them complete their challenge. View our range here.