British explorers Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere are in the final stages of preparation for what promises to be the expedition of a lifetime. The two veteran adventurers are now just a few short weeks away from launching the Scott Expedition which will mark their attempt to complete the fateful journey to the South Pole undertaken by Robert Falcon Scott back in 1911. Those that know their exploration history will recall that Scott arrived at the South Pole a few weeks after his Norwegian rival Roald Amundsen became the first man to reach that location. Dejected and defeated, Scott and his men turned for home but did not manage to survive the return trip. Scott died alone in a tent on the Antarctic ice and to this day his route has never been completed. Ben and Tarka are hoping to change that.
I first wrote about story back in June when the expedition was announced and at the time the 2013 Antarctic season seemed a long way off. Fast forward a few months however and it is looming large. Ben and Tarka are now in the final stages of planning and preparation and as of this writing they are just 25 days away from setting out on this adventure. That means that they will most likely set out for Punta Arenas, Chile – the launching point for most Antarctic expeditions. Once there, they’ll play the waiting game, watching the weather closely to hop a flight to Union Glacier and eventually getting dropped off at their starting point on the Ross Ice Shelf. The two men will actually begin their journey at Scott’s famous hut on Cape Evans as they begin traveling south through some of the most desolate and demanding terrain found anywhere on the planet.
In all the two men will travel roughly 1800 miles (2896 km) on their way to the South Pole and then back again to the coast. They will follow the same route that Scott had intended had he been succesful in his endeavor more than a century ago. Even now this will not be an easy journey as only a handful of people have actually managed to make an unsupported round trip journey form the Antarctic coast to the Pole and back. If Ben and Tarka hope to succeed they’ll need to be focused, dedicated and even a little lucky. The weather will have to cooperate to some extent and they’ll have to overcome all manner of challenges including fatigue, equipment failure and loneliness.
It seems that this expedition has all of the social media outlets well covered. They have launched a Twitter feed, Facebook page and an Instagram account. They even have a YouTube channel and a G+ account as well. Follow them on your social media of choice and stay well informed of their progress leading up to departure and throughout the entire adventure.
Good luck to Ben and Tarka. I’ll certainly be following along and posting updates in the days ahead.