It has been over a century since the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition, when Captain Robert Falcon Scott led the first British team to the South Pole on 17th January 1912. The team eventually died, having covered nearly 1,600 miles and that achievement has been unchallenged for over 100 years, but not any more.
Polar explorers Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere have finally completed the historic journey in 105 days, walking an average of 17 miles per day in temperatures as low as low as -50 degrees fahrenheit wind chill. By completing the 1,795 mile trek to the South Pole and back, they set the record for the longest polar journey on foot in history.
Ben Saunders, reflecting on his journey, said “To be able to accomplish a lifetime ambition is such a privilege and I can’t believe the journey I’ve been working towards for more than 10 years is now complete.”
In extreme conditions, and hauling sleds with a starting weight of nearly 200kg each, Saunders was keen to pay tribute to the amazing achievement of the original Terra Nova explorers, who almost completed the journey without the wonders of modern technology: “This journey has pushed us to our very outer physical and mental limits. For the last four months the furthest I’ve thought is mustering the energy and strength to take the next step. To make it through an 80 minute session became the greatest of achievements. 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 – and incredibly lucky to be honoring their memory.”
On their return to the UK, members of Saunders and L’Herpiniere’s family – as well as ancestors of Captain Scott – gathered at Heathrow airport to meet them, as shown in the pictures here.
We here at Merrell would like to congratulate both Ben and Tarka for their amazing achievement! You can read more about their trip on the official Scott Expedition blog.