Translated into English Mathias Ekornås’ surname is Squirrel-Hill. That’s irony. If anything, he’s Mr. Elk-Everest, except, of course, he hates The Everest. It’s over the top, too noisy and too crowded for the silent Scandiman.
– I’m an extrovert, other people energise me – cocktail conversation is my favourite drink, but: My happiest moments are accompanied by solitude, silence and peace. Loneliness is a social phenomenon, when I am alone I am never lonely, says the lone elk.
He occupies a vintage Norwegian 60-ies couch in one of Oslo’s least known and hence most chillaxed cafes. I’m in a chair across the teak table. Despite the fact that we’re about the same size he has no space left. I have plenty. He is seated like a star – arms and legs stretched out in a big welcome to the world. No shyness. A great package of self-confidence.
– I prefer nakedness to clothes, really. Being natural in nature is 100 per cent pure love. If not dressed in hot nothing, he suits up for adventure in Lynx Laboratory’s collection.
Style is a feeling. Your character has to match your clothes. A mismatch makes you look like someone trying – and not making it. You don’t want that.
Feet firmly on the ground, legs apart, he leans forward saying: – You have to be man enough to own your style. Who is? – Well, Mike Horn for one. The coolest guy there is, and the greatest living adventurer.
Man of adventure
Mathias has always dreamt about becoming an adventurer – that’s why he moved to the US to be a professional boxer aged 17 and why he later joined the army to be a professional soldier in Norway’s ferocious Arctic operations. – I know how to light a fire in my inside pockets, so I’m never cold. At first his adventures was about escaping the narrow-mindedness of his rural childhood. – The thought of getting stuck there terrified me. I had to get away, and I did.
Being an adventurer is being brave, curious and having the ability to go to places nobody else reaches. Much like a soldier, really. The army gave me the opportunity to go exploring.
Being a professional soldier and an adventurer was the perfect match for a long time. Gradually his perception of an adventurer has matured and changed:
– An adventurer probably has been in the armed forces, but he no longer is: He is not in the system anymore, he retires from service, but his aspirations are not retired. He embraces his individuality and has the skills to do so with confidence. An adventurer has to survive, you know, otherwise he is just another casualty.
So, is Mount Everest your highest aspiration? – No, Mount Everest used to be the peak of every true adventurers career, now it is an industry. The biggest challenge is to raise the 600 000 kroners you need to get permission to be carried to the top. When Arne Næss led the first Norwegian expedition to Mount Everest in 1985, Nepalese authorities only approved one expedition a year. You were alone in nature facing both its greatness and dangers alone and in silence.
One on Mathias’ friends nearly died after conquering Mount Everest: – He didn’t nearly die at the hands of nature, he almost died waiting in line to cross a bridge. There were simply too many tourists, and he his oxygen reserves dropped to critical levels.
Nature can eat me any day, but I am not letting capitalism suffocate me.
Mathias’ former adventures have three features in common: You ski really long distances, you do it in really cold Arctic weather and, if possible, you conquer some really high peaks. In addition: You know where you are going, but not exactly how to get there.
– That’s part of the adventure; I enjoy improvising and finding solutions to problems as we go, literally.
Where to next, Mathias? – Nepal. I’ve bought a one way ticket. I’ll sort out the rest when I get there.
Man of today
Mathias has a fascination for national polar heroes, but neither Fridtjof Nansen (1861 – 1930) nor Roald Amundsen (1872 – 1928) is The One for him. – Hjalmar Johansen (1867 – 1913) had nothing if not lots of guts: He brought a letter to Nansen and delivered it to the nations number one hero on the street asking to become his stoker on board the ship Fram. He didn’t have a privileged background, no education, but made up for it by never lacking in initiative or courage. I identify with him and admire his accomplishments, although his departure was tragic and not to be repeated. The scandal of a polar hero’s suicide was a shock to the young nation. – He was a Man and to some degree a stereotypic man: physically strong, adventurous and with a generous supply of individuality. He was far from the role model we force modern man to fit, which I find too feminine.
Men care, but we care by strength: being able to defend our family. I am not pro traditional gender roles, but I am pro both men and women being allowed and encouraged to be themselves – and that’s not the same.
What defines a man of today, big muscles, big cock, courage or remembering his girlfriend’s birthday? – You don’t need to be a Man to remember someone’s birthday, you don’t deserve recognition for doing the ordinary, the obvious.
A Man dares to leave the cave to search or hunt for food, not being content with boiling porridge with the others and as usual. He is reliable, courageous and strong.
Mathias Ekornås’ bio
Place of birth
The Norwegian Military Academy
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