To mark the centenary of Shackleton’s crossing the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust offers for three young people the opportunity of a life-time to participate in a fully sponsored ski-touring trip attempting to repeat Shackleton’s crossing in October 2015.

South Georgia, situated in the middle of the Southern Atlantic Ocean, is part of the subantarctic islands and was one of the few inhabitated places there due to the whaling stations. Photo: Katja Riedel
South Georgia, situated in the middle of the Southern Atlantic Ocean, is part of the subantarctic islands and was one of the few inhabitated places there due to the whaling stations. Photo: Katja Riedel

After Shackleton’s ship the Endurance was crushed by the ice in the Weddell Sea the most amazing survival story in Antarctic history enfolded. After months of struggle in the pack ice the men reached open water and sailed in three small boats to Elephant Island. From here Shackleton and five men sailed in the James Caird over 800 nautical miles to the small sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia.

In a desperate attempt to organize help, Shackleton had one of the lifeboats made seaworthy and he sailed with 5 men in 16 days from Elephant Island to South Georgia, covering almost 800 nautical miles. Photo: Frank Hurley
In a desperate attempt to organize help, Shackleton had one of the lifeboats made seaworthy and he sailed with 5 men in 16 days from Elephant Island to South Georgia, covering almost 800 nautical miles. Photo: Frank Hurley

Unfortunately conditions dictated that they landed on the uninhabited side of the Island. In a single push Shackleton, Frank Worsley and Tom Crean crossed the glaciated, steep and uncharted interior of the island from King Haakon Bay to Stromness in May 1916.

With the “Inspiring Explorers Expedition 2015” the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage trust will give three young people in their twenties the opportunity of a lifetime to repeat this journey across South Georgia on a fully sponsored expedition. The expedition’s aim is to encourage young people to explore the physical world, to educate and inspire them and to inspire others. The expedition’s patron is the Hon. Alexandra Shackleton, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s grand-daughter.

The three lucky young people selected will nominally represent the nationalities of Shackleton (Britain), Worsley (New Zealand) and Crean (Ireland) who famously undertook the expedition a century ago in May 1916.

After their epic journey across South Georgia, the three men first received a bath, a shave and some new clothing. Afterwards, a boat rescued the remaining two men in King Haakon Bay.
After their epic journey across South Georgia, the three men first received a bath, a shave and some new clothing. Afterwards, a boat rescued the remaining two men in King Haakon Bay.

The expedition will be part of an existing scheduled commercial tour to South Georgia in October 2015 from South America with Antarctic tour company, One Ocean Expeditions aboard Akademik Sergey Vavilov. The expedition team will fly to Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands and then travel aboard Vavilov to King Haakon Bay, South Georgia. From there the plan is for them to disembark and cross South Georgia to Stromness, on skis where possible, before re-joining the ship. After circumnavigating South Georgia, they will return with the ship to Ushuaia, Argentina.

The crossing will be a multi-day traverse of the island from South to North on skis across glaciated country. The crossing party will be self-sufficient for that time. The party will also include New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust’s Executive Director, Nigel Watson, and will be led by two professional, internationally qualified One Ocean Expeditions mountain guides.

For more details or to apply visit the webpage of the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust.

Source: New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust