(Correne Coetzer. This story was first published on pythom.com)
“Yes, pretty devastated at the loss of a great friend,” Lou Rudd told Explorersweb/Pythom today. His friend and 2011-12 South Pole expedition leader, Henry Worsley, died on January 24 after a medical evacuation from Antarctica.
In the 2011-12 Centenary Year of the discovery of the South Pole, Worsley and Rudd were the only skiers who retraced Amundsen’s route. They set off at the Bay of Whales on November 3, 2011, crossed the Ross Ice Shelf and Axel Heiberg Glacier and arrived at the South Pole on January 9, 2012, a distance of 1230 km in a straight line.
Explorersweb/Pythom checked in with Lou, asking him to share memories of Henry, and to tell about his upcoming South Pole expedition.
"Henry was a true inspiration to me and a role model. I have never met anyone more passionate about Antarctica and the early polar pioneers. He made it his life's mission to inspire others through his polar journeys and in doing so raised significant money for worthy causes."
"I had the honour of completing an 800 mile unsupported trek along the original route of Amundsen in 2011-12 with Henry and that journey changed my life. I witnessed a man full of passion and sheer determination to achieve his goals and yet also very humble and kind.”
"I could not have asked for a greater travelling companion. It came as no surprise to see him give absolutely everything to try and complete this latest journey. He died doing what he loved most."
"I will be leading a team of Army Reservists on an unsupported journey to the South Pole later this year (SPEAR17), indeed a trip that was inspired by my time with Henry, and we will use this expedition to honour his many achievements."
The 2015-16 solo traverse attempt was Henry Worsley’s third South Pole expedition, commemorating Shackleton’s Endurance expedition hundred years ago and his intended route, had he set off. Both Henry's previous routes were full routes (coast to Pole), starting from the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, following Scott/Shackleton and Amundsen’s routes. His 2008-09 expedition followed Shackleton’s 1908-09 and Scott’s 1911-12 route through the Beardmore Glacier (1,480 km). Henry's 2011-12 expedition followed Amundsen’s route through Axel Heiberg Glacier (1,230 km). Henry is the only person ever to have recreated these Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen’s routes.
During the 2008-09, expedition Henry carried Shackleton's compass in his pocket. Back then, Shackleton didn’t reach the Pole, he turned around 97 miles before the Pole. During the expedition with Lou, Henry carried the polar medal posthumously awarded to Lawrence (Titus) Oates, member of Scott’s team.
Antarctic solo traverse: Henry Worsley talks to Exweb/Pythom from Punta Arenas (2015)
Shackleton’s leadership skills, by Henry Worsley (2015)
Exclusive: South Pole anniversary final week interview with Henry Worsley (2012)
ExWeb interview with Henry Worsley and Mark Langridge: Obviously no one will be Going outside for some time (2011)
Previous South Pole 2015-16 updates:
South Pole skier, Henry Worsley, passed away
South Pole Skier in Hospital
Antarctica evacuations: Journeys end
Antarctica: So Near And Yet So far
Henry Worsley at the South Pole
AdventureStats.com for Polar Statistics
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