Matrix Shackleton Centenary Expedition

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From 15.11.2008 to 20.01.2009 - Status: success

Follow ancestors footsteps

Follow ancestors footsteps

© International Polar Foundation

Six descendants of the famous British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton have decided to follow in the footsteps of their illustrious forebear and recreate in 2009 what was called the ‘Nimrod Expedition' back in 1909. Their aim is to finish off the job begun a century ago by the "Boss".

There are six intrepid explorers taking part in this unusual adventure:

  • Henry Worsley, expedition leader, who has a 25-year military career behind him. Worsley is a distant relative of Shackleton and has already taken part in two high-level races, the 'Haute Route' and the 'Yukon Arctic Ultra'. Heading for the South Pole has always been his greatest dream.
  • Will Gow is a banker who works in the City. He has already raised £100 000 by taking part in the '100 miles in the Himalayas' race; all we know about Gow is that he is related to Shackleton by marriage.
  • Henry Adams, a lawyer who specialises in marine matters. He is the great-grandson of Jameson Boyd Adams, who was Shackleton's second-in-command during the Nimrod expedition. Adams has completed a number of long, arduous treks in South America and Africa and is also a great kitesurfing and sailing enthusiast.

The three other men making up the remainder of the team are Patrick Berghel, Shackleton's great-grandson (he works in advertising and will be responsible for assisting in the efforts of the Shackleton Foundation, Tim Fright, great-grand nephew of Frank Wild, the only explorer who accompanied Shackleton on each of his missions. His job will be to cover the final 97 miles to the Pole. Finally, there is David Cornell, another grandson of Jameson Boyd Adams, who was an officer in the British army before going to work in the City. Cornell spent a number of years in Norway on military exercises for the British army.

Flashback. In 1907 England decided to reach the South Pole. Shackleton was in charge of the 'British Imperial Antarctic Expedition', also called the 'Nimrod Expedition' from the name of the ship that was to take the explorers to the frozen continent. But the expedition failed 97 miles from the Pole on account of fatigue and a lack of food and fuel. Despite the overall failure, however, they were the first to cross the Trans-Antarctic Mountains and venture as far into the depths of the Antarctic. It is thought these days that if Shackleton had not decided to turn back (for the sole purpose of saving his men), they would almost certainly have been the first explorers to reach the South Pole. But there would very probably have been deaths... (see one of the articles about the Nimrod Expedition).

The plan is to retrace Shackleton's route from Shackleton's Hut, including an ascent of Mount Erebus (exactly as his ancestor did), then on to Beardmore glacier. This time, though, they will continue on to the South Pole, without turning back.

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