55-year-old Henry Worsley to attempt unassisted crossing of Antarctica

Henry Worsley
Photo by Adventure-network.com.

Where Shackleton failed, Henry Worsley plans to succeed. On the 100th anniversary of the British explorer’s attempt to cross Antarctica, Worsley, a British Army veteran and seasoned polar explorer, will be attempting the same crossing in 75 days without any outside support. No food will be dropped for him and he won’t rely on dogs or a kite to pull his sled. He’ll be on skis, dragging his supplies, tent, and equipment behind him.

Worsley's planned route.

Worsley’s planned route.

A fan of Edwardian polar explorers, Worsley has already retraced Shackleton’s crossing of the Transantarctic Mountains, and followed explorer Roald Amundsen’s route to the South Pole. A collector of Shackleton memorabilia, Worsley has even dubbed his expedition “Shackleton Solo.”

Beyond wanting to succeed where his hero failed, Worsley is hoping to raise £100,000 ($201,966 CAD) for the Endeavour Fund, an organization that supports injured servicemen and women. The cause is particularly close to Worsley’s heart, and will keep him motivated during his 1,100 mile journey.

“There is no black art to driving one ski in front of the other,” he told the BBC, “what is driving me on is the money for these wounded soldiers.”

Union Jack

Photo by the BBC

One of Worsley’s greatest supporters is Prince William, who presented the explorer with a replica of the flag Shackleton was gifted before his Antarctic expedition. The Duke of Cambridge was well aware of the difficulties facing Worsley saying, “it’s a huge challenge, but there’s no better person than you, we’ll be thinking of you at Christmas.”

Worsley plans to begin his expedition on November 10, starting on Berkner Island’s Gould Bay, continuing south to the Geographic South Pole, and then turning north along the Ross Ice Shelf. He’ll be facing sub-zero temperatures, whiteout conditions, and strong winds throughout his excursion.

You can keep track of Worsley’s progress on his website.