Adventurer, polar explorer
Place: Surnadal, Norway
Rune is the first and only person in the world to have crossed the world's largest expanses of ice (North Pole, South Pole and Greenland) without supplies delivered along the route. As a veteran of Team Bergans, he's a real tough-man and a true polar hero.
He has completed many long expeditions in extreme weather conditions, but it all started on a farm in Surnadal in the Nordmøre district. Growing up on a farm as a boy put him in close contact with nature. The family weren't into extreme sports but were very oriented towards spending time outdoors. Rune began exploring more extreme pursuits such as climbing and river rafting. He had no instructor, so most of what he learned he taught himself.
"I never have any goal to break records on my trips. I only do it because it's exciting".
The first major hike was a four-day round trip in the Trollheimen mountains with his older brother. Rune remembers this as a trip with shoes that were way too large, but as the experiences have accumulated and the trips have become longer, few people are able to fill their shoes as well as Rune Gjeldnes does today.
In 2000, accompanied by Torry Larsen, he skied from Severnaya Zemlya in Russia across the Arctic Ocean and the North Pole to Cape Discovery in Canada as the first and still the only person to have accomplished that feat. He was the first in the world to have crossed both poles without supplies delivered along the route.
"Your equipment needs to be optimal in every possible way when you set out on major expeditions. This is particularly important on expeditions where you have no support. The margins for the whole expedition unraveling are really fine. Sometimes it can be a matter of life and death".
He achieved the longest crossing (4,804 km) of the Antarctic on skis in 2006. And this was via a completely new route that Rune found himself. Rune and Torry are the only people who have crossed Greenland longitudinally, in its day the longest polar expedition in the world without supplies delivered along the route.
Rune Gjeldnes is also fond of expeditions in warmer parts of the world. For example, he has been on a paddling expedition in Madagascar and a caving trip in the Amazon jungle. When Rune and his companion reached the Devil's Canyon in Venezuela on foot and climbed down to the bottom, they were the first people ever to achieve this.
Rune Gjeldnes is a popular speaker. He has a great deal of knowledge to impart about planning trips, safety and preparing yourself both mentally and practically. His unique knowledge and experience from expeditions in Arctic conditions have made him an attractive consultant and speaker for military forces. He used to be a marine himself.
When the BBC wanted to reconstruct the race to the South Pole, Rune was an obvious choice as leader of the Norwegian team. Who could be better suited to fit in Roald Amundsen's shoes?
Continues to train in various fields. Much focus on speed flying and parachuting,
as well as continuing to work on classified projects.
Completing a book project.
Continues to work as both a consultant and instructor for the Norwegian Armed Forces.
Travels on minor expeditions in Norway, something he loves.