This Man is Walking in Shackleton’s Footsteps and Crossing Antarctica Alone
The 1,100-mile journey should take about 75 days, depending on the weather.
It's currently summer in Antarctica, which means the temperature is just slightly above freezing, and Henry Worsley is making the most of the weather. The 55-year-old British former army officer is marking the 100th anniversary of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated journey to the South Pole by making the trip himself, with one twist—he’s doing it alone. There will be no dogs, tractors, or food and fuel drops along the way—and no kites either, which is what helped Norwegian explorer Børge Ousland on what was the first solo, unsupported crossing of Antarctica. "I want the success or failure of this thing entirely in my own hands," Worsley told National Geographic.
This isn’t Worsley’s first trek through Antarctica. He has made somewhat of career of following in the footsteps of Arctic explorers, first in 2008 to commemorate the centennial of Shackleton’s journey through the Transantarctic Mountains, which ended less than 100 miles from the South Pole. He returned to the icy continent in 2011 to lead a team of six soldiers along the original routes used by Captain Robert Scott’s and Roald Amundsen’s expeditions.
This time, though, he is going it alone, dubbing his trek Shackleton Solo and chronicling it all on his blog so armchair adventurers can follow along. After documenting the extensive prep work involved in such an undertaking, Worsley’s 1,100-mile expedition finally got underway a few days ago.
Although the first few days of his trek went as well as days spent hiking across glaciers in subzero temperatures can go, day five of the journey was “a bit of a stinker,” according to his blog, with the weather taking a turn for the worse. Hopefully the weather will improve, because Worsley still has at least 73 days until he reaches his goal.
Worsley didn’t undertake this journey just for fun or glory. He's trying to raise money for the Endeavor Fund, an off-shoot of the Royal Foundation established in 2012 by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The fund offers grants to wounded British servicemen and women to take part in the sort of physical activities and extreme excursions that Worsley undertakes. You can help him reach his $150,000 goal by donating here.