It’s getting close now, less than a week to go before I depart the UK. I’m feeling as well prepared both physically and mentally as I’ve ever been for any expedition. Even though this will be a solo expedition I am just the tip of a huge iceberg of support that has helped make this journey a reality. The British Army, Shackleton, Level Peaks, Team Army, SSVC and many more have all played a huge part in getting me this far and now it’s time for me to deliver.
The build up and preparation has been hectic and I’m really looking forward to getting dropped at my start point on the edge of the continent and beginning the journey. As I will be unable to update this website while out on the ice my incredible expedition partners, Shackleton, will be providing full expedition coverage with daily updates, tracking map and many more features at the following site – Spirit of Endurance
Tune in to watch the adventure unfold!
Pulling together major expeditions such as these can be an emotional rollercoaster. The early phases are always particularly difficult as you are trying to get it off the ground, spread the word and build support. But eventually, after a lot of hard work (and soul-searching!) it begins to grow, support begins to trickle in and the momentum builds. And then it gets to a point where it really takes off and you become truly humbled by people’s generosity and good will. It might be a solo expedition but it would not be possible without the support of so many; friends, family, colleagues and sponsors.
This is an Army supported expedition facilitated through the superb Adventure Training Scheme and the support I have received from the Army over the last few months in the form of funding, promoting and preparing for the expedition has been truly outstanding. After 33 years of service its been a great reminder of what a wonderful institution it still is. Of course, major expeditions like this require additional support and funding from commercial backers and again the support I have received has been truly humbling. One of my key sponsors, The Shackleton Company, have gone above and beyond in their support and their enthusiasm for the project is inspiring. In addition, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the following for their ongoing support:
The Infantry Battle School, Brecon
My little brother Nick Rudd
Pete Masters at Skinzophrenic
Gus & Steve…
Rhodri at Nordic Life
All of you and many more are all helping to make this bold and ambitious project a reality and I can’t thank you enough. Plus, I’m sure there’s someone up above watching down on proceedings with great interest…Onwards.
Planning and preparations for the Spirit of Endurance expedition are coming along well. I’m currently tackling fundraising, physical training, selecting and sourcing equipment, clothing, nutrition, logistics support, media plan, route planning and post expedition legacy.
The biggest challenge as always is the fundraising but I’m receiving some great support from the Army and commercial sponsors alike and starting to get there. Although there is some way to go yet and with only 3 months to go I’m working hard to secure the final support needed. It’s always a stressful period but I’m feeling confident it will all come together in time. Belief is everything!
Physical training is in full swing and I’m regularly out on the tyre getting the miles in, down the gym doing strength and conditioning exercises or up on the hills completing the Fan Dance or 3 Peaks Challenge. I’m also heading out to Iceland in September for a final equipment test and refining of procedures. It will also be a great opportunity for some filming and photography.
I’m starting to order some of the specialist kit required for a solo journey and working out how to lighten my load as much as is safe to do. The food I’ll be eating for the 75 day crossing is a key part of this and striking the balance between weight and calories is a delicate one. I’m aiming at around 6000 calories per day and trying to keep it to around 1.1kg. I’m having to use a specialist pulk (the sledge I’ll be dragging behind me) that has a huge volume and is 2.3m long to fit everything in!
A key part of the expedition, and something that is very important to me personally, is the legacy it will leave behind. In conjunction with the Army a post expedition engagement plan is being put together that will see me touring the country and speaking to schools and other establishments to inspire the next generation to pursue their dreams and goals on whatever scale they may be. This is a phase of the project I’m really looking forward to.
Staying focussed and positive despite the inevitable set backs is key. With much still to do I continually remind myself why I’m doing this, to honour the legacy of the early polar pioneers, for Henry and for the next generation of aspiring adventurers. As I was once inspired by those that went before me then I hope I in turn can inspire those that follow to go always a little further.
Crossing Antarctica, Solo & Unsupported
A solo, unsupported crossing of Antarctica, using muscle power alone with no resupply– although attempted – has never yet been completed. It is the purest and most challenging form of polar travel. A dear friend of mine, Lt Col Henry Worsley, MBE, Polar Medal, tragically lost his life attempting this journey in 2016. My first ever polar journey was with Henry and he taught me all of the skills required as well as inspiring me further. As a fitting tribute to the legacy of Henry I am hoping to go to Antarctica to complete his journey.
I am under no illusions as to the enormity of the task. Just raising the necessary funds to get to the start line will be a huge challenge, let alone the journey itself. However, I genuinely feel having served for many years with Henry and shared a tent with him for 3 months in 2011/12 while skiing to the South Pole, that I am the right person for this task. I’m sure he will be looking out for me throughout. His wife Joanna has very graciously given me her blessing and will be supporting the build up and preparation as well as watching the journey unfold.
And so, as Henry would have said ‘Onwards’.
To be a part of this world first, record breaking journey I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Solo & Unsupported Traverse of Antarctica
“Through Endurance We Conquer”
Sir Ernest Shackleton CVO OBE FRGS