Armin Wirth, born in 1972 in Germany, discovered his love for expeditions and extreme tours through his godfather who gifted him with a multi-day hiking adventure at the age of 10. This was the beginning of a lifelong passion. Over the years the tours grew in length and distance and increased in difficulty. At the age of 20, Armin felt a calling to move to various areas in Scandinavia and Spitsbergen for several months. During his studies he worked as a tour guide in Greenland, Spitsbergen and Norway in the summer months. During the winter he embarked on his own explorations through these regions.
Even bigger expeditions followed thereafter. With his then partner, Arved Fuchs, Armin went on a two month tour, traversing the East Greenland ice shield. Armin and TV anchor Markus Lanz went on an expedition to the North Pole, shooting a documentary about their journey for a German TV station. In 2008, Armin and his current expedition partner, Dieter Staudinger set out to reach the South Pole. Due to lack of wind their expedition was cut short after 4 weeks and the two had to temporarily abandon the goal of an Antarctic crossing. In November 2011 the two will once again attempt to reach the South Pole and complete the transantarctic crossing.
Based on his experiences in extreme regions, Armin, a trained paramedic for the St Johns Ambulance in Germany, translated and refined the Canadian book “Wilderness First Aid” for the German speaking audience. Under the title “Erste Hilfe Extrem” Armin developed a comprehensive training system for the EMT education branch concerned with emergencies in wilderness and remote mountain areas. He also published his companion guide “Erste Hilfe Unterwegs” (Published by Peter Rumpf Verlag, 4. Edition). He also organised several “Extreme Symposiums” where members of many different kinds of expeditions, alpine mountaineers and survival experts from all over the world exchanged ideas, knowledge and experiences.
After graduating from High School, Armin completed his business administration studies with emphasis in international Marketing at Robert Bosch Corporation in Germany and Mercedes Benz Inc. in Toronto, Canada. Additionally, he graduated from his 4 year MBA/EBA studies at the ESB Business School in Reutlingen, with 2 years of studies in London, UK. Still a student, Armin started his own marketing agency, primarily supporting businesses in the outdoor sector. His company organised outdoor motivational programs for large clients such as Ferrero of Germany. Also during this time, Armin managed two non-profit projects, “Blue Sky Deutschland” and “Blue Sky Norge” where youth with cancer were given the opportunity to train for and participate in expeditions to help them gain strength and self-confidence.
In 2003 when his parents had to retire for health reasons, Armin took over the family business Schweisstechnik Oerlikon Wirth GmbH & Co. KG – a manufacturer and wholesaler for welding equipment, robots and related materials. Over the last few years Armin transformed the company, which was founded in 1937, into a thriving modern business and acquired 2 other sector companies in 2010. His business is currently employing about 40 workers and staff.
In combination with his professional life Armin has completed various courses in continuing education, management, coaching, organisational as well as personal development and is an outdoor-process trainer.
„To be at one with one’s calling is bliss made manifest“
Even at a very young age, Dieter Staudinger, born in 1975, Graz, Austria, followed a calling that led him into nature time and time again. Often to the concern of his parents, he ventured deep into the nearby woods and mountains and embarked on his own ‘nature expeditions’. At the age of six he found his love for sport through vaulting and gymnastics. Through his dedication, commitment and with the support of his family, Dieter went on to win numerous provincial and national titles. As part of the junior national teams in both disciplines, he participated in tournaments in Austria and across Europe.
At the age of 15, Dieter discovered his love for Baseball and through it, North America. At the time Baseball was still a largely unknown sport in Austria. To be able to play to his expectations and passion, Dieter founded his own Baseball team at the age of 15. His enthusiasm attracted coaches from North America, sponsorships and success. In their first season, the ‘Red Barons’ won their first provincial title. Dieter was called up to the national team and represented Austria at the U-21 European Championships in 1993 in Barcelona.
After High School, instead of studying psychology and educational sciences as planned, Dieter followed his inner calling to North America to study under survival expert, Tom Brown Jr. in California and New Jersey. Dieter completed more than 15 week-long courses and returned many times as an assistant instructor to deepen his knowledge and skills. Dieter and Armin met at one of these classes in December 2001.
Always seeking authentic Native wisdom teachings, his journeys led him to Africa, Central America and all over North America. He tested his survival knowledge and skill on journeys into the wilderness of the Yukon and Alaska. Before choosing Canada as his new home, Dieter taught tracking and wilderness survival skills in the Austrian Military as part of his service in the Alpine “Jaeger” commando. Dieter currently lives in Dundas, Ontario.
Since 2003 Dieter is mentoring and guiding children and youth in group homes. Especially for youth who are not able to live with their parents for one reason or another, he acts as emotional and spiritual caregiver. In his role as Child and Youth worker he also guides and mentors adolescents on their journey to adulthood.
In 2006 Dieter founded his own coaching and personal development company: Divine Transformations. As a registered Psychotherapist and Personal development coach, he works with individuals, couples and families. Dieter also develops and leads seminars and workshops for individuals, businesses and special interest groups. In his work he combines the cutting-edge psychological, medical and psychosomatic insights of the western world with the meditative, spiritual teachings of mindfulness and Self-realisation of many other cultures.