Follow these guys across ‘dead heart of Australia’

Deadly snakes, soft sand dunes, and no support. No big deal for Sebastian Copeland and Mark George.
Two men carry their gear up a dune
Sebastian Copeland and Mark George climb a dune © Ryan Claypool
By Corinna Halloran

Right now, Sebastian Copeland has his earbuds in and is listening to techno music as he marches across the Simpson Desert's Madigan Line.

“The 120 beats per second of the house music sets up a good pace for trekking. You get lost in the music and it becomes like a meditation,” Copeland said.

He is also carrying 170kg of water and gear with his new partner, Mark George, for 25-plus days.

Known as the 'dead heart of Australia' Copeland and George are hiking 520km over soft sand dunes of Australia’s fourth largest desert, the Simpson Desert. If that wasn’t enough: they are attempting a world’s first: to march the desert's Madigan Line unassisted.

Copeland explained, rather nonchalantly, that if he gets a scorpion bite it will be manageable – anything beyond that will be tricky.

Perhaps his matter of fact tone is because he’s no stranger to epic adventures – from Antarctica (twice) to Greenland, Copeland seems to have done it all. We won’t get into his impressive CV but let’s just say he is a definite contender for the title of ‘most interesting man in the world.’

So what’s brought Copeland and George to one of the most desolate places on Earth? Simple: training (and filming for the next season of Red Bull TV's Explorers).

The men are training for another (equally as arduous task): trek across the North Pole in 2017. Together, these treks are a part of the The Last Great March. The men are trekking and filming to bring awareness to climate change and Earth’s current global warming dilemma.

Both will be tough; the North Pole will be slightly more tough but we’re going to get our asses kicked in Simpson. This will be the toughest mission on Earth.

Sebastian Copeland

When Copeland says it’s going to be tough, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s going to be tough as all Hell.

For one, it’s going to be hotter than Hell. The mission will be equally physically taxing as mentally.

"We will start out with shorter distance days because we will be carrying so much water, but as the weight shrinks, the travel distance extends."

Each morning, the guys will begin feeling like they’re invincible. Then, as time ticks on, the body will begin to strain as they trek 15-20km.

“First it’s your back, then glutes, hips, that's when your enthusiasm begins to wane, finally your feet and calves go,” Copeland said.

But that’s not all, it’s worse above the neck. “80 percent of the challenge happens in your head. As the day reaches an end, minutes drip slowly by. You swear it was 10 minutes but it was really only four minutes,” he said.

Thankfully he has that music to push him forward.

Follow Copeland and George's journey live with their tracker. If you're now feeling the need to watch more Explorers do more epic adventures, tune in to Red Bull TV's Explorers season 4.

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