Spirit of Adventure: James Castrission and Justin Jones

By AG Society 20 June 2012
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James ‘Cas’ Castrission and Justin ‘Jonesy’ Jones accept the Australian Geographic Society’s award for Spirit of Adventure.

Their philosophy was to be “fit, fat and flexible” says James Castrission, who, along with Justin Jones, skied a gruelling 2275km across Antarctica, joining Norwegian Aleksander Gamme to be the first to travel unsupported from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back on foot.

They graduate from their 2008 posts as our Young Adventurers of the Year – after they conquered their world-first 3318km unassisted paddled across the Tasman Sea – to our Spirit of Adventure awardees, flying the adventuring flag once again and becoming the youngest team to ever reach the South Pole.

Related: Meet the 2023 Australian Geographic Society Award winners

It was a trek that had been attempted and abandoned by famed adventurers Jon Muir, Peter Hillary and Eric Phillips in 1998. Pulling loads that started at 160kg, and bearing temperatures as cold as -40ºC, the pair battled frostbite, injury, whiteouts, crevasses, gear failure and the loss of a combined body weight of 55kg over the 89-day expedition.

James and Justin’s crossing is an incredible feat of endurance, and was achieved in the summer that marks the 100-year anniversary of the first explorers to reach the South Pole – Norwegian Roald Amundsen who was shortly followed by Britain’s Robert F Scott.