About SPEAR17

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Overview

In November 2016 a six man team from the British Army Reserves will be dropped by ski plane on the coastline of Antarctica. From there they will attempt to ski over 1,100 miles unsupported across the polar continent to the Geographic South Pole. Once at the Pole the team will receive a re-supply of rations and fuel and continue onwards over the Titan Dome, down the Shackleton Glacier and onto the Ross Ice Shelf to complete a full traverse of Antarctica. A feat achieved by only 6 people so far.

Each man will be hauling an individual pulk weighing approx 160kg which will contain everything he needs to survive for 3 months on the ice pack. The team will be completely self sufficient and do not intend to receive any form of resupply or outside assistance until they reach the Pole. The team expect to arrive at the Pole by the end of December or early January and complete the full traverse by the end of January.

The team will face many challenges along the way including the harsh polar weather, crevasses, whiteout conditions, a climb from sea level to 10,000ft, isolation from the outside world and the constant mental and physical battle of manhauling their pulks across the ice. It will take every ounce of their strength and determination to reach their goal. Antarctica is the coldest (-93°C), windiest and most inhospitable place on the planet but also one of the most beautiful and rewarding places to travel in.

As a consequence of the expedition the team hope to raise £100,000 for the ABF The Soldiers' Charity, helping those service personnel that require it most.

Expedition Timeline

This is an approximate timeline in the lead-up to the expedition:

  • 2015
    • May: Team selection begins
    • May - Dec: Fundraising and adventure training ski courses
  • 2016
    • Jan/Feb: Team training in Norway (final team selection)
    • Jan - Dec: Fundraising
    • Mar: Official Launch Event
    • Mar - Oct: Team training events
    • Late Oct: Depart UK for Chile
    • Early Nov: Fly to Antarctic, start journey to the South Pole
  • 2017
    • Early Jan: Reach the South Pole
    • Late Jan: Complete Antarctic Traverse
    • Late Jan: Return to the UK

Why do it?

  • This is a polar journey never before attempted by an Army Reserves team. Over 4,000 people have summited Everest, but only six have walked across Antarctica without assistance.
  • As a consequence of the expedition we hope to raise £100,000 for service personnel in need with ABF The Soldiers' Charity.
  • A flagship expedition to raise the profile and highlight capabilities of the Army Reserves making it a key recruiting and retention opportunity.
  • It is the ultimate test of physical endurance and determination to succeed in the most hostile environment on the planet.
  • British military historical links with Antarctic exploration – Captain Scott.