Louis Rudd MBE is a record-breaking polar adventurer, expedition leader, former Royal Marine Commando and SAS soldier, with 34 years of service. He is the first – and only – person to have traversed Antarctica twice using human power alone, and has reached the South Pole three times from different coastal start points. He is a member of the exclusive Explorers Club, a Published Author and accomplished Public Speaker.
Louis served for over three decades in the military, joining at the age of 16 as a soldier and rising through the ranks to Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM), before commissioning as an Officer. As well as serving in Northern Ireland, The Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan, he has completed multiple cold-weather tours in Norway and the Arctic circle. While serving he completed a Masters Degree (MSc) in Security & Risk Management.
Louis’ first trip to Antarctica was in 2011/12 on the Scott-Amundsen Centenary Race Expedition. Along with Lt Col Henry Worsley MBE, Polar Medal, he skied 800 miles over 67 days unsupported from the Bay of Whales, up the Axel Heiberg Glacier to the South Pole, following the original route of the Norwegian Roald Amundsen. The expedition raised £150,000 for the Royal British Legion charity.
In 2016/17 he planned and led a team of five Army Reservists on a 67-day, 1,100-mile traverse of Antarctica. The SPEAR17 Expedition started at Hercules Inlet, skied 700 miles unsupported to the South Pole, collected a resupply and then crossed the Titan Dome and descended the Shackleton Glacier before arriving on the Ross Ice Shelf. The expedition won multiple awards including the Sun Military Award (Millie) for ‘Inspiring Others’ and in 2018 Louis was awarded an MBE for his leadership on the journey. The team raised £50,000 for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.
In May 2018 Louis guided a team of five civilian friends on a 570km west-to-east traverse of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Despite a difficult season and hurricane-strength winds, the team completed the crossing in 27 days.
In 2018/19 he undertook the ‘Spirit of Endurance’ expedition which was a 56-day, 920-mile solo unsupported (no kites or resupply) crossing of the Antarctic continental land mass, becoming the first Briton and second ever in the world to complete this journey. He is the first person to traverse Antarctica twice on foot. Post-expedition, he completed a 5-month schools programme on behalf of the Army, lecturing on his military career and life of adventure. He was honoured to receive the Scientific Exploration Society’s ‘Explorer of the Year 2019’ award.
As well as conducting his own expeditions, Louis now focuses on consulting for others undertaking their own polar journeys, including specialist training and expedition management, as well as offering speaking engagements on leadership and the lessons from his Antarctic and military experiences. He is an Ambassador for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and Director of Expeditions for Shackleton London.