Antarctica 2006/07: Extreme South team to follow Dr. Wilsons footsteps

Posted: Jun 22, 2006 03:10 pm EDT

( A six-month long night is currently covering Antarctica, but explorers know the sun will dawn over the ice in a few months. When it does, Rob Conways Extreme South expedition will be there.

Beardmore Glacier SP Hercules Inlet

The team, all students from St George's Hospital in south west London, will be retracing part of Dr. Edward Wilsons route from the Beardmore Glacier to the geographic South Pole. They will then return to Hercules Inlet using kites. The entire trip is expected to last from November 2006 to January 2007.

The expedition will be kite-supported, but otherwise unsupported. Each member will be hauling approximately 150kgs, everything needed for the two month long expedition.

Following the footprints of Captain Scotts Doctor

Dr Edward Wilson was one of Scott's team who reached the pole 100 years ago. Together with Evans, Bowers, and Oates, they were the second team in history to reach the South Pole. They had hoped to be the first, but Norwegian explorer Amundsen made it there 21 days before Scotts. The entire British team died on the way back.

Wilson was also a former medical student from St George's, University of London, the same medical school team Extreme South attends.

Youngsters training for some polar firsts

Rob, Doug and Toby, all med students in their twenties, are ambitious enough to complete the trip, and set some records on the way.

If they succeed, they'll be the first team of medical students to achieve the feat. Besides, team leader Robert Conway (28) is an insulin dependent diabetic, and thus a candidate to become the first diabetic to make it to the geographic South Pole without resupplies. Also, team member Toby Williams could end up being the youngest Brit to reach the SP, at 22 years old. Doug Orr, the third team member is 28.

Rob, Toby and Doug have some adventure background, but no previous experience with polar trips, so they are training hard for Antarctica. Theyve already completed training trips to Iceland (March, 2006), and Norway (April 2006). In July they will travel to Greenland for another Arctic environment trip. When at home, the guys can be seen hauling tires around Richmond Park or the Ridgeway, and running the boat race route at Putney.

The expedition route stretches over 2200km (1400 miles) and retraces part of Edward Wilsons footsteps to the geographic South Pole: From 85 degrees at the top of the Beardmore Glacier to the South Pole and then from there to Hercules Inlet by the Weddell Sea.

The team will fly to Beardmore Glacier and proceed on skis to the SP. They will use kites on the way from the Pole to Hercules Inlet. They plan to complete the trip without airdrops.

Rob Conway, 28 from Wimbledon, is the expedition leader and an insulin-dependent diabetic. Rob was one of the youngest fellows of the Royal Geographical Society and has led a number of expeditions, the last of which was to Bolivia investigating altitude sickness. Rob regularly gives talks around the UK on expeditions and wilderness medicine and has contributed to a number of publications in these fields. He will be the first diabetic to make the geographic SP with no resupplies.

Toby Williams, 22 from North Yorkshire, the youngest member of the team and an Army Officer, is an endurance athlete who recently competed in the Karrimor International Mountain Marathon and has ridden the route of the Tour de France. Toby will be the youngest British person to the SP.

Doug Orr, 28 from Stockwell, London, is a snowboarder and surfer whose previous expeditions have included ice climbing on the Franz-Josef Glacier in New Zealand, and motorcycling the length of Europe, Africa, South-East Asia and Australasia.


The team, all students from St George's Hospital in south west London, will be retracing part of Dr. Edward Wilsons route from the Beardmore Glacier to the geographic South Pole; they'll return to Hercules Inlet using kites. The trip is expected to last from Nov 2006 to Jan 2007. Image of the team (from left to right) Rob, Doug, and Toby, compiled on the expedition's route map, courtesy of Extreme South (click to enlarge).

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