Less than a year since the tragic death of Army officer Henry Worsley, a team of Army reserves will set out to retrace his epic adventure in Antarctica.
The Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC), the charity behind the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) and Forces TV, is backing this immense and physically demanding challenge, that will see the team travel 1,100 miles and survive unaided for 90 days.
Henry aimed to complete the first ever solo unsupported and unassisted crossing of the Antarctic landmass but was airlifted off the ice just 120 miles short of completing his attempt. He sadly died on January 24th, 2016.
The latest expedition, called South Pole Expedition Army Reserves (SPEAR17), will be led by Lou Rudd, who reached the South Pole on a previous expedition with Henry in 2012. He said:
"Once we reach the Pole, we hope to push on as a tribute to the legacy of Henry Worsley. We will attempt a further 400-mile unsupported journey across the Polar plateau to the Shackleton Glacier, finishing at the Ross Ice Shelf."
He and his team will attempt to reach the South Pole and then continue along the Shackleton Glacier and complete Henry’s route.
The team of six soldiers, from 1 Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) Brigade, will start at Hercules Inlet and set out on a 730-mile unsupported trek to the South Pole. Upon reaching it, they will conduct an assessment to see if it’s safe and realistic to continue, and will take on a resupply.
Setting out on October 27 2016, the expedition has been planned down to the last detail, from how many calories each member will need to consume daily, to the application of the latest innovations in equipment and technology.
It is the first time such an attempt has been made, and it will cover more than 1,100 miles of Polar wilderness. Lou Rudd said:
"Bold and ambitious projects such as SPEAR17 require significant support and funding to make them a reality. Without the backing of our many sponsors this epic expedition would not be possible.
"The entire SPEAR17 team would like to express their gratitude to SSVC for their incredible generosity and the knowledge that so many people believe in us will spur us on as we inch our way across the polar wilderness towards our goal."
The team, who will haul their food, clothing and shelter for their journey on the ice in specially made pulks (sledges), are raising awareness and funds for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, during the trip, and are hoping to raise £100,000. Robin Bacon, Chief of Staff at The Soldiers’ Charity said:
"This is a remarkable feat of human endurance. No-one should underestimate the enormity of the task ahead of this team, both physically and mentally. We’re incredibly grateful that they’ve chosen to be associated with us."
Adventurer Ranulph Feinnes, patron of the expedition, said: "I wish the team every success and look forward to monitoring their progress as they inch their way across the polar wilderness."
You can follow the team’s progress on Facebook, via the expedition's website; or on Twitter or Instagram. Or you can make a donation here.