Explorers complete epic Shackleton journey

By Mischa Vickas 11 February 2013
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After 72 hours of subantarctic conditions and a blizzard, two explorers have completed an exhausting re-creation.

EXPEDITION LEADER TIM JARVIS and mountaineer Barry Gray are enjoying a well-deserved sleep after completing their Shackleton re-creation journey. The two adventurers reached their destination on South Georgia Island this morning (AEDT), after a three-day battle on foot, through blizzard conditions in period gear.

The arrival marks the end of their re-enactment of the survival journey made by Ernest Shackleton and his crew in 1916, after a failed attempt to reach and cross Antarctica.

Only two of the original team of six completed the last section of their journey, crossing the island of South Georgia and arriving safely at Stromness whaling station after being trapped for 24 hours by fierce blizzard conditions. 

Shackleton crew trapped by blizzard

Expedition leader Tim Jarvis and mountaineer Barry Gray upon arrival in Stromness, South Georgia island. 

Tim and Barry set off to cross the mountainous island on Friday morning (AEDT) after sailing for with four other crew-members for 17 days from Elephant Island to South Georgia.

Read about the team’s Southern Ocean journey 

“It was epic, really epic, and we’ve arrived here against the odds,” says Tim.

The crew travelled in period-accurate clothing in a cramped replica lifeboat during which two developed serious trench foot due to the cold, damp conditions onboard, and had to pull out.

The remaining two crew-members completed the journey in modern gear as part of a support crew.

Tim and Barry, who struggled on, initially expected to reach Stromness in 24 hours, but became trapped on top of a plateau by a blizzard that literally knocked them off their feet.

Read about the South Georgia crossing

Safe in Stromness

Though they remained in period clothing, the two resorted to using modern tents and sleeping bags to wait out the blizzard.

“Mother Nature rules out here and you just have to go with what she dishes up and make the best of it,” says Tim.

Once the weather cleared they were able to complete the crossing, arriving at 9:45am Monday morning (AEDT) after a full 72 hours on foot. Shackleton and his crew only took 36 hours to cross South Georgia in 1916.

After they are woken for interviews tomorrow, the crew will visit Shackleton’s grave to raise a toast to the renowned Antarctic explorer and his amazing feat of endurance.