British soldier will attempt to be the first person to cross Antarctica solo in an 1,500km journey – 104 years after Sir Ernest Shackleton’s failed bid to cross the frozen continent
- Captain Louis Rudd will attempt to cross 1,500km of Antarctic ice in 75 days
- The Spirit of Endurance trek is inspired by Shackleton’s expedition of 1914-17
- Rudd, who served in the army for 30 years, was awarded an MBE after leading a team of Army Reservists on the Trans-Antarctic SPEAR17 expedition last year
A British soldier is attempting to be the first man in history to cross Antarctica solo – unsupported, unassisted and using muscle power alone.
Captain Louis Rudd’s ambitious journey will involve carrying 150kg of essential food and kit across 1,500km of Antarctic ice in 75 days with no help.
The 47-year-old will battle temperatures as low as -50C in the Spirit of Endurance expedition which he is embarking on to honour his late friend Lieutenant Colonel Henry Worsley and as a tribute to explorer Ernest Shackleton’s legacy.
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British Army Captain Louis Rudd is attempting to cross 1,500km of Antarctic ice in 75 days
The 47-year-old will embark on the mission alone and carry all his supplies with him
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Lieutenant Colonel Worsley mentored Rudd on his first polar expedition in 2011 and lost his life trying to complete a solo trans-Antarctic mission of his own in 2016.
The name of Rudd’s expedition harks back to the expedition ship of the original Ernest Shackleton Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-17.
Now the stuff of legend, Shackleton’s ship Endurance became trapped and was then crushed in the polar pack ice in 1915, leaving 28 men stranded in horrific conditions with no hope of rescue for more than a year.
With courage and leadership Shackleton eventually saved all the men in perhaps the most extraordinary survival story of all time.
The name of Rudd’s expedition harks back to the expedition ship of the original Ernest Shackleton (right) Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-17. The ship (left) became trapped in 1915, leaving 28 men stranded with no hope of rescue for more than a year
Shackleton and five others left the Endurance (pictured leaning in the ice) and made an 800-mile open-boat journey to organise the rescue of the other stranded crew
After months spent in makeshift camps as the ice drifted northwards, the party took to lifeboats to reach the inhospitable, uninhabited Elephant Island.
Shackleton and five others made an epic 800-mile open-boat journey to reach South Georgia and organise the rescue of the stranded crew.
Captain Rudd hopes to complete the mission that Shackleton couldn’t complete over 100 years ago and his trek is being facilitated and supplied by a men’s performance clothing brand named after the legendary explorer.
He said: ‘Within the polar community, Antarctica is called ‘The Great White Queen’, and like a siren song she draws you back.
The crew of the Endurance spent months in makeshift camps after becoming stranded
Shackleton’s crew became trapped in ice in the Weddell Sea and the boat sank. They then traveled to Elephant Island before Shackleton and five others went in search of help
‘I absolutely love the sheer vastness of Antarctica. It blows me away every time, and without even knowing it, I’ve probably been preparing for Spirit of Endurance for well over 10 years now. It has always felt like my destiny.’
His family – wife Lucy in Hereford and children Luke, Amy and Sophie – will be following the journey back home.
Captain Rudd will also have daily check-in calls via Sat phone that will provide a brief chance to interact with those keeping tabs on his progress.
Captain Rudd’s expedition timeline
25th October 2018: Louis Rudd Depart For South America.
26-31th October 2018: Final prep in Punta Arenas.
1st November 2018: Fly to Union Glacier with Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions
1-7th November 2018: Expedition start date, weather conditions permitting.
22-30th December: Expected to reach South Pole.
7th-25th January: Expected to complete Expedition.
27th January: Latest completion date.
He’ll also have some ‘super-lightweight’ presents to open on Christmas Day as well as his iPod – stocked with Bruce Springsteen and U2 songs – to keep him company.
Spirit of Endurance will begin from Hercules Inlet on the Ronne Ice Shelf in the Weddell Sea, (near where Shackleton had planned his start 104 years go) and will conclude on the Ross Ice Shelf around 75 days later.
The journey will take over two months and Captain Rudd is fully aware of the danger of the grueling mission.
He said: ‘It’s right at the limits of what is possible and being out there really puts this expedition into perspective; you are this tiny little black dot in this huge white expanse, working your way across the continent.
‘It’s a place that can kill you in minutes if you get things wrong. It could be as simple as pitching your tent, if the wind catches it… it’s gone, it floats like a parachute and blows away.
Rudd is suitably qualified for this expedition having trained in arctic warfare for over 30 years during his time with the Army.
Rudd led a team of Army Reservists on the Trans-Antarctic SPEAR17 expedition last year and has trained in arctic warfare for over 30 years during his time with the Army
He also raced to the South Pole in 2011 with his very close friend, the late Lieutenant Colonel Henry Worsley, and hopes this Spirit of Endurance expedition will honour his pal
He also has extensive specialised polar experience having led a team of Army Reservists on the Trans-Antarctic SPEAR17 expedition last year.
For his ‘outstanding leadership and determination’ during this expedition he has been awarded an MBE, collecting it at Buckingham Palace, on 17th October, 2018.
He also raced to the South Pole in 2011 with his very close friend, the late Lieutenant Colonel Henry Worsley, in a re-enactment of the Scott-Amundsen race that took place a century earlier.
Rudd says: ‘Henry completely inspired me from that very first journey and gave me that real deep appreciation for the polar pioneers and for polar history in general.
‘I knew absolutely nothing about polar travel; the dark arts, the routines, the kit, he taught me everything.’
Rudd’s Spirit of Endurance will raise money for The Royal Foundation’s Heads Together mental health charity, and for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity. ABF offer lifetime support to soldiers and veterans from the British Army, and their immediate families.
The ambitious journey, which will last more than two months, will involve carrying 150kg of essential food and kit across 1,500km of Antarctic ice
Rudd was awarded an MBE for his ‘outstanding leadership and determination’ in the Trans-Antarctic SPEAR17 expedition last year
The co-founder of the high-performance British clothing brand, Martin Brooks, says: ‘Shackleton is built in The Boss’ image and we are incredibly proud to be the official expedition partner and clothing supplier to the historic Spirit of Endurance expedition.
‘Louis Rudd epitomises Sir Ernest Shackleton’s powerful values; optimism, patience, physical endurance, idealism and courage.
‘Our brand’s purpose is to inspire and equip the modern pioneer and we’re proud to support and cheer Lou all the way.’
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