Crossing the Ice

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Crossing the Ice TV Poster Image
Antarctic adventure docu has lots of positive messages.

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Positive Messages

It shows the dangerous risks associated with trekking across Antarctica, as well as the strength, focus, and determination required to complete it. Courage, goal setting, hard work, friendship, and staying positive are also major themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Cas and Jonesy are very close, and think of each other as brothers. Aleksander Gamme acts as a mentor to the young men.


The duo face serious dangers during their journey brought on by extreme elements; brief stories about adventurers who attempted similar treks and died are shared. They struggle with frostbite and other injuries; bloody blisters are visible. Vomiting is also shown. Scary masks are occasionally worn as a joke.


The men discuss injuries to their private parts; the word "balls" are used to describe genitals.


The word "s--t," used once, is muted.


Logos for The North Face Company is prominently visible. The Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (A.C.E.) company is prominently featured.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adventurers drink celebratory champagne after the adventure is over. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Crossing the Ice is a documentary about amateur trekkers attempting to become the first to travel across Antarctica to the South Pole and back without support. The film contains lots of positive messages about friendship, courage, perseverance, and being safe. Viewers see some difficult images of bloody blisters, vomiting, and crying due to being tired, hungry, and/or despondent. There's an occasional crude reference and a single muted curse word, as well as a champagne toast. The North Face Company and Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions is prominently featured.

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What's the story?

CROSSING THE ICE documents the experience of two Australian adventurers and best friends who attempt an unsupported journey across the continent of Antarctica. In 2012 James "Cas" Castrission and Justin "Jonesy" Jones set out to do what, up until then, no one had succeeded in doing: travel across the southernmost continent to the South Pole and back without the use of dogs and/or other support teams. After spending months learning how to ski, strength training, and traveling to Canada to experience extreme cold, the two pull their own sleds of gear across the ice in an attempt to complete the round trip journey in under 84 days -- and before Norwegian polar guide Aleksander Gamme completes the trip on his own. They use video cameras and satellite phones to document their journey. Throughout the voyage they fight severe weather, frost bite, hunger, exhaustion, and frustration, especially when they can't find the food and fuel resources they've left along the trail to consume during their return trek. It's physically, mentally, and emotionally grueling, but one that this spirited and positive team believes they can complete.

Is it any good?

The two men, who in 2008 were the first to ever cross the Tasman Sea in a paddle boat without assistance, offer a positive and voyeuristically entertaining look at the highs and lows they experience throughout the often-agonizingly difficult journey. Throughout it all the two discuss the real dangers they are facing, despite all the careful planning, appropriate training, and precautions they take in order to stay safe.

There are lots of inspirational moments, but there are also some deeply personal and honest scenes in which the men express their fears and discouragement, and/or become desperate thanks to being perpetually hungry, cold, and exhausted. But their close friendship and their overall spirit constantly remind you that courage, focus, and perseverance can help someone achieve the impossible, especially when you have people supporting you every step of the way.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what drives certain people to go on dangerous expeditions around the world. Is it adrenaline? Fame? Or something else? What lessons are viewers are supposed to take away from shows that feature people who do this kind of thing?

  • Who are some of the most famous explorers featured on TV and film over the years?

  • What is the difference between a documentary and a reality show?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love true stories and adventure

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