British polar explorers Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere have made history in completing the ill-fated journey of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s iconic Terra Nova expedition.
On Friday 7 February 2014 at 1.15am, having trekked 1,795 miles across the inhospitable landscape of Antarctica on a return journey to the South Pole, Ben and Tarka achieved the world record for the longest polar man-haul in history.
The journey, which has taken a total of 105 days (just over a quarter of a year), has pushed the limits of physical and mental fortitude and reset the bar for polar expeditions of the future. Ben and Tarka hauled sleds with a starting weight of almost 200kg each and walked on average 17 miles daily in temperatures as low as -46oC wind chill.
In 1912, Captain Scott and his men died having covered almost 1,600 miles and this feat has never been surpassed in over 100 years, until today.
Ben Saunders said, “It is almost impossible to comprehend what we have achieved. Completing Scott’s Terra Nova expedition has been a life-long dream and I’m overcome to be standing here at the finish. The journey has been a mammoth undertaking that has tested the bounds of our bodies and minds each and every day.”
“At times we found ourselves in dire straits in the intense cold, wind and altitude of the high plateau, weakened by half-rations and closer to the brink of survival than I had ever anticipated this journey taking us. In that light, both Tarka and I feel a combination of awe and profound respect for the endurance, tenacity and fortitude of Captain Scott and his team, a century ago.”
Ben and Tarka have been sharing their journey with the world along the way in their daily blog www.scottexpedition.com/blog
Ben Saunders is a pioneering polar explorer, one of only three people in history to have skied solo to the North Pole, a challenge Reinhold Messner called “ten times as dangerous as Everest".
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