Henry is attempting the first unsupported and unassisted solo crossing of the Antarctic landmass. On this epic journey of 1100 miles – from Berkner Island to the Ross Ice Shelf via the South Pole – Henry will make the first solo descent of the Shackleton Glacier. Hauling the food, fuel and equipment he needs for this test of endurance, Henry aims to complete the crossing in 75 days.
GETTING TO ANTARCTICA
On the 21st October 2015, Henry will arrive in Punta Arenas, a coastal town on the southernmost tip of Chile, where he will meet up with his freighted kit and equipment. A few days of preparation will follow – repacking, medical briefs, communication checks, and safety briefs from the logistics provider.
Weather permitting, Henry will fly to Union Glacier, the site of his Antarctic Logistics Base, on 27th October. There, he will simply wait for favourable weather conditions – weather will dictate the speed of travel throughout the expedition, and a great deal of patience is required – before flying on to his start point at Berkner Island, close to Shackleton’s intended start point on the Weddell Sea one hundred years ago.
Henry has based his food and fuel calculations for an 80 day journey so he will want to get started by 10th November. Once he starts, his journey to the South Pole will follow one of the possible routes that Shackleton could have followed taking him up the Wujek Ridge and then onwards to the polar plateau and finally, the Pole. He will average 15 nautical miles a day at this stage, travelling uphill but reducing the load in his sledge as he eats his way through his burden. He hopes to reach the South Pole by 31st December.
From the South Pole, Henry will then head off the polar plateau north towards the Transantarctic Mountains. Downhill, with the winds behind him and pulling a lighter sledge, he will aim to cover up to 25 nautical miles a day.
Shackleton’s intended route through the mountain range was across the Beardmore glacier which he discovered in 1909, but instead Henry will make the first solo descent of the Shackleton glacier – appropriate in the centenary year.
Once clear of the mouth of the Shackleton glacier, Henry will travel out onto the Ross Ice Shelf, to find a suitable site which is crevasse free and flat enough to land a small aircraft. He expects to be picked up by late January 2016.
He will then be flown back to the Union glacier camp where he will wait to be flown to Punta Arenas in Chile to complete the expedition.