Erling Kagge

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Erling Kagge (born January 15, 1963) is a Norwegian explorer, lawyer, art collector, entrepreneur, author and publisher.


Erling Kagge is one of the greatest adventurers of our time and has for the past 25 years been setting new standards in exploration. Kagge was the first person to surmount the "three poles" - North, South and the summit of Mount Everest. Kagge was also the first to walk to the South Pole alone.

In 1990, Erling Kagge and Børge Ousland became the first men ever to reach the North Pole unsupported. The expedition started from Ellesmere Island on March 8, 1990 and reached the North Pole 58 days later on May 4, 1990. They traveled approximately 800 kilometers on skis pulling their supplies on a sledge.[1]

Less than three years later, in 1992–93, Kagge completed the first unsupported expedition to the South Pole, covering the 814-mile (1310 km) route in 52 days.[2] Kagge had no radio contact to the outside world for the duration of his expedition. This was featured on the cover of the international edition of TIME magazine on March 1, 1993.[3]

In 1994, Kagge summited Mount Everest, thus becoming the first person to complete the "Three Poles Challenge".[4] For two years during this period, Kagge worked as a lawyer for industrial giant Norsk Hydro.

After his record-breaking feat of reaching the "three poles", Kagge attended Cambridge University to read philosophy for three terms. In 1996, he founded Oslo-based publishing house, Kagge Forlag, which quickly grew to become one of Norway’s leading publishing companies. In 2000 Kagge Forlag acquired one of Norway’s oldest publishing companies, J.M. Stenersens Forlag. Kagge himself has written six books, which have been translated to several languages. He sometimes writes articles for newspapers and contributes to different books as well.[5]

In addition to running his publishing business and writing, Kagge is a major collector of international contemporary art and Russian icons.[6] Astrup Fearnley Museum for Modern Art will display art from his collection through the summer of 2015.[7] Adventure and exploration remain intrinsic to his nature, and Kagge continues to do expeditions, although with a lower profile than in the nineties. In 2010 he travelled across New York City with Steve Duncan by using sewage systems, train, water and subway tunnels.[8] In 2015 he will be crossing White Island in the Arctic Sea with Børge Ousland.


  • Kagge, Erling (1990). Nordpolen: Det siste kappløpet. J.W. Cappelens forlag. ISBN 82-02-12406-9.
  • Kagge, Erling (1993). Alene til Sydpolen. Cappelen. ISBN 82-02-14087-0.
  • Kagge, Erling (1994). På eventyr. N. W. Damm & Son. ISBN 82-517-8081-0.
  • Kagge, Erling (1994). Pole to Pole & Beyond. N. W. Damm & Son. ISBN 82-517-8082-9.
  • Kagge, Erling (2007). Philosophy for Polar Explorers: What They Don't Teach You in School. Pushkin Press. ISBN 1-901285-69-3.
  • Kagge, Erling (2015). A Poor Collectiors Guide to Buying Great Art. Kagge Forlag
  • Kagge, Erling (2015). Manhattan Underground. World Editions.