As you might have noticed - our interactive map has been moved.
We wanted to show you that our focus has changed from the Expedition to the Foundation. If you're looking for the map, and want to listen to those daily broadcasts from Antarctica click here
|Henry Worsley MBE Team Leader Henry Worsley has been in the British Army for 25 years, and is distantly related to Frank Worsley, Shackleton's skipper on the Endurance. He has wide expedition experience, and has completed the Haute Route and Yukon Arctic Ultra. This journey will satisfy an obsession with Shackleton and fulfil a lifelong ambition to follow the route of one of his polar expeditions.|
|Will Gow Will Gow works in the City. He has raised over £100,000 for charity by completing the Himalyan 100-mile stage race, and is related to Shackleton by marriage. The Centenary Expedition combines his desire to travel in the last great wilderness and reunite Shackleton's descendents at the Pole.|
|Henry Adams is a shipping lawyer and the great-grandson of Jameson Boyd Adams. He has trekked extensively throughout South America and Africa and is a passionate kitesurfer and sailor. Since boyhood he has dreamed of reliving his great-grandfather's Polar experience.|
|Patrick Bergel works in advertising. He is the great-grandson of Shackleton. Patrick will support the fundraising efforts of the Foundation and hopes to meet the ice team at the Pole.|
|Tim Fright works in Westminster. He is the great-great-nephew of Frank Wild, the only explorer to accompany Shackleton on all his missions. Tim counts skydiving and marathon running amongst his hobbies, and will complete the final 97 miles from the Farthest Point.|
|David Cornell is the great grandson of Jameson Boyd Adams. David was an officer in the British Army before entering the City, and spent several years in Norway leading arctic warfare exercises. The expedition will give him the opportunity to trace a link to his own ancestor's efforts, bringing to life the heroic journey in order to connect the past to the present.|
I've found a definition for English eccentricity - pulling big tyres up even bigger hills on what should be a lazy Sunday afternoon in Surrey. Sisyphus eat your heart out.
It's Sunday the 22nd July and the team have been in Peaslake village, Surrey for most of the day. To cut a bizarre story short we were there for some photos to be taken for our upcoming Daily Telegraph article.All very exciting stuff, even if we did look like pretty stupid pulling tyres up a big hill - a massive hill in fact, overlooking half of sunny Surrey and parts of sunny Sussex.
In 3 hours I don't think I have ever sweated more and feel the desperate need to get fitter faster finally upon me. I feel this because I haven't done any previous training -type stuff that the rest of the team have done. The two results of this were 1) Pain 2) Pain 3) A realisation that these guys doing the whole thing from start to finish are either incredibly brave or slightly mad.
From a training point of view though, what was most interesting was that the sheer regular monotony was not something that I had given much thought to before I signed up for this and this was on a sunny day with trees, woods, and at the end a view that encompassed half of Surrey and Sussex.
What the guys are going to have to put up with for hundreds of miles is going to be long cold white days of trudging through snow, the texture of which will change with the temperature making a massive difference to the friction with the pulks that they pull. This means that there are going to be good days and bad days in terms of distance covered.
If we are able to meet up at the 97 mile point they will have achieved something truly incredible. To further that by taking on us last 97ers and getting to the South Pole will be a great way of introducing to the world The Shackleton Foundation and what it stands for. Hopefully that will outlive all of us.
Kit either excites you or it doesn't. For me, I have the sort of reaction when walking into a mountaineering, cycling or windsurfing shop that a 4 year old boy would feel when entering a giant model train emporium. This has many consequences, ranging from being permanently impoverished and needing to hide purchases from my wife (well, for a day or so before confessing), to being responsible for the equipment we bring to the Antarctic.
Naturally I took on the job with gusto. A few 100 hours of research, discussion and negotiation later, I confess my zeal has diminished a smidgeon. There's only so much time a half-normal person can dedicate to finding the perfect middle layer fleece. Tell me if you know of such a thing and help end my misery.
Although it's 16 months until the start of the expedition, we've had pretty much all our expedition kit for some time now. We need it so far in advance in order to test each item and learn how to operate, look after and get the best out of it. As lighter/stronger/more efficient kit enters the market, we may upgrade individual items but by and large what we have now, we will take South.
If we don't have the right kit, we will, at best, not get very far. So this part of the preparation needs to be totally right and I feel a massive amount of responsibility. I have been consumed by research into what works and what doesn't at -40°C. My task has from time to time been hindered by having to get to the bottom of what a product really can do, when unrealistic descriptions given by some outdoor manufacturers of their products promise the moon. This is far from universal, however, and it became clear quite early which manufacturers really cater for expeditions to remote and hostile places, and which cater for high street adventures.
We've benefited greatly from the experience of Matty McNair here. Matty is a world-renowned polar guide and whilst she does what she does because she loves it, her approach to technique and kit is ultra-practical. Efficiency is the mantra.
You can find the latest incarnation of our kit list here on the website. I'll post separate articles on what we're taking and why, lest any of you fancy walking 900 miles to the Pole.
Instead of working on my dissertation or reading up for an upcoming exam (I have a worryingly low attention span - as I'm sure my final marks will show), I've just finished watching the last episode of Michael Palin's Pole to Pole.
In the episode he manages to get to the South Pole, and if you haven't seen it already I really recommend it as it shows you what its like out there/ down there in glorious technicolour. He is able to walk around the world (around the South Pole itself) in 8 seconds which is something that I can't wait to try out when I get down there.
The whole thing becomes a bit more real when you see other people doing it, rather than just daydreaming about how cold it is going to be in the not-too-distant future.
The Antarctic is the most remote and coldest place on Earth. These two facts make it critical and yet very difficult to maintain contact with the outside world.
First and foremost, we need to keep our logistics provider abreast of our progress and location. We may also need a means of contacting the resident Patriot Hills doctor, for diagnosis and treatment. Next, we want to send daily updates, containing written entries, photos and video footage, to this website. Finally, it will be incredibly valuable for us and our families to be able to communicate whilst we're on the ice.
Severe cold devours batteries and electronics. We'll need to ensure that all batteries are warmed before drawing on their power, otherwise they will go flat in a flash. The best way of warming batteries and electronic devices is to carry them deep within our clothing, so they pick up our radiant body heat. We'll sew additional pockets into our inner layers for this purpose.
Well be using lithium batteries, which are lighter and more resistant to cold than standard alkaline batteries. We'll also limit our use of batteries to an absolute bare minimum. For example, we'll only use our GPS once a day, to record our log and to help set our bearing for the following day. We will also use rechargeable batteries wherever possible, harnessing the 24 hour daylight in solar panels for recharging.
So, what electronic gadgets are we taking? Basically, the bare minimum to keep the weight down.
Firstly, we'll take two (lest one fails for any reason or is accidentally broken) Garmin Geko 201 GPS units with us. They're very light, simple to use, waterproof and robust. No frills - none needed. In days of old, expeditioners used wheels on the back of their pulks to log distance covered. A GPS dispenses with this.
Next come our communications. We'll be taking two Iridium 9505A Satellite Phones. They work wherever satellites are overhead, i.e. pretty much anywhere. We've been using these throughout our training and they provide remarkably clear contact with the outside world from the wilderness.
We'll use the satphones to provide live updates, in conjunction with two (again in case one loses the will to live) Ipaq HX2400 expedition PDAs. These have been well tested on polar expeditions and are smaller, lighter and tougher than laptops. Each PDA will have Contact 4.0 software downloaded onto it, provided by Human Edge Tech. The software will enable us to upload pictures, videos and dispatches straight away onto this site. The PDAs will also need to be kept warm, which means they will get to luxuriate in our sleeping bags each night. Lucky them.
On the photography side, we'll each be taking a digital camera, which again we'll keep close to our bodies to keep them warm, plus one digital videocam between us.
All this will be powered by a Survivor 10 solar panel, made by Solar Blazt. It's tough, flexible, waterproof and folds up neatly. It's our lifeline with the outside world so we will care for it lovingly.
Finally, we'll each take an ipod. In theory, they'll add non-essential weight. In practice, one of the hardest parts of Antarctic travel is maintaining high spirits when there is nothing to take your mind of the hardship and drudgery of your daily grind. To give an indication of the feeling of endlessness brought on by travelling across the polar landscape, Ranulph Fiennes and Mike Stroud came back for their transantarctic expedition short-sighted because the only thing they could focus on for weeks on end, was the tips of their skis. When all around you is never-ending white, the stimulation and escapism provided by an ipod will quite literally be music to our ears.
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