Friday, February 8, 2013

`Shackleton' re-enactors, stranded, are resupplied

After six months on the ice Ernest Shackleton and four members of his crew crossed the southern (Antarctic) ocean in a life boat.  Landing after 800 miles of misery on South Georgia, Shackleton and two others (Worsley and Crean)  crossed the mountains and glaciers to reach the whaling station at Stromness.

Today's adventurers, in athletic trim, found the sailing journey taxing.  Suffering from "trench foot" three of them were unable to attempt the mountain crossing.  Two set out wearing traditional clothing.  They found themselves stranded and had to be resupplied. - GWC

Shackleton Epic | Official Centenary Expedition:

In one of the most dramatic days of the Shackleton Epic expedition so far, two men are stranded on the plateau above Shackleton’s Gap, while four other members of the expedition crew and film crew have evacuated themselves from the mountain to escape the extreme weather conditions.
While their goal of re-enacting one of the greatest survival tales of all time lies just over the other side of the mountains, reaching the old whaling station at Stromness, South Georgia just as Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men did in 1916, the extreme conditions have put a halt to their plans – at least for the time being until the weather breaks.
For British/Australian expedition leader Tim Jarvis and mountaineer Barry ‘Baz’ Gray, Mother Nature has unleashed her full fury and stranded them on the plateau above the glacier at Shackleton’s Gap.   Wearing only the traditional gear of early last century,  for over 12 hours they have ‘hunkered down’ in a tent to ride out the ferocious storm which has seen wind gusts of 45knots that have knocked the expeditioners off  their feet, ‘horizontal’ driving rain, sleet and snow, freezing temperatures and zero visibility.
In a courageous act to help their fellow adventurers survive, the expedition’s navigator, Australian Paul Larsen and British cameraman Joe French returned to the mountain today, braving the extreme conditions wearing modern climbing gear, to re-supply the two intrepid adventurers with food and other essential provisions. 
When they returned to the support boat Australis, anchored in Possession Bay, after their brave 1.5 hour mission, they were cold, wet and relieved to have been able to re-provision the pair.   Larsen, who safely navigated the James Caird replica, the 22.5’ Alexandra Shackleton across 800nm of the treacherous Southern Ocean from Elephant Island to South Georgia less than a week ago, said that Tim and Barry intended to continue their crossing when the weather breaks.
“They are both experienced mountaineers and they’ve said they will continue with the expedition unsupported when there is a break in the weather, carrying a rucksack with the tent and provisions – which they must do for their own safety,” Larsen said.  The provisions will last them until Monday.
In a radio sked with Australis, seasoned polar adventurer Jarvis said that both he and Royal Marines mountain leader,
Baz Gray were “doing OK” and would wait-out the conditions in order to complete the crossing and their goal of re-enacting Shackleton’s legendary expedition.
Yesterday, Larsen and fellow crew member Seb Coulthard along with experienced expedition cameramen Si Wegan and Joe French evacuated themselves from the mountain during the height of the extreme conditions.
“There was no point us risking our lives by staying exposed on the mountain in those conditions.  We left the tent and sleeping bags for Tim and Barry so that they could continue on when the weather improves,” he said.
‘The double’ of successfully completing the boat journey and the mountain crossing in traditional gear as Shackleton did, has alluded many adventurers who have tried to emulate Shackleton’s feat.   The success of the crossing now rests upon how long Jarvis and Gray are prepared to wait for the weather to come good.
Once underway in improved conditions, they could complete the crossing in as little as 24 hours, arriving at the old whaling station at Stromness.

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