Prince Harry arrived in Antarctica today and is preparing to make an exhausting journey to the South Pole. The 29-year-old army veteran and British royal is making the 210 mile trek to support charities for veterans from the UK, Canada, Australia, and the United States. Harry’s big adventure is part of Walking with the Wounded’s South Pole Allied Challenge 2013 expedition.
The race to the South Pole will begin on Saturday, November 30. The teams are hoping to set foot on the South Pole within around 18 days of leaving. They will walk an average of 10 miles every day and will be dragging 155 lbs. sleds full of equipment behind them. While it’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere, it won’t exactly make the weather comfortable. The icy weather in Antarctica is expected to be as cold as -49°F with winds as bone-chillingly fast as 50 MPH.
The South Pole Allied Challenge 2013 expedition has three teams. The teams are comprised of wounded war veterans representing the United States, the Commonwealth (with Australian and Canadian participants), and the United Kingdom. Other famous names making the journey are Alexander Skarsgård, from True Blood, and Dominic West, from The Wire. English Dominic West will be representing the Commonwealth team while Swedish Skarsgård will be on the American team. Harry will be walking for Team UK.
Proceeds from the Commonwealth team will go to the charity Soldier On while the Americans will be walking for Soldiers to Summit. Prince Harry’s team is racing to raise money for Walking with the Wounded, a charity that helps injured war vets return home and find work.
So, is Harry up to the extreme challenge? While the expedition would be a struggle for anyone, Harry has been preparing. He did a 24-hour training in a Cold Chamber to get ready for the extreme temperatures and he has spent his fair share of time outside of the palace.
Prince Harry’s military training should also come in handy during the 210 mile walk across Antarctica. The royal army attack helicopter pilot spent time in Afghanistan setting up camp in below zero weather with winds often up to 45 MPH.
He also has some artic trekking experience under his belt. Prince Harry did part of this same trek a couple of years ago. However, while the cause is very near to his heart, he was just a guest trekker that year. He needed to cut his 2011 expedition short to return home to be best man to Prince William at the Royal Wedding.
After his great experience in 2011, the prince is excited to be back to face the artic challenge again. He just reported that his plane from South Africa was delayed by two days due to bad weather but he has finally arrived at his starting point in Novo, Antarctica. All of the South Pole Allied Challenge teams will be starting from Russia’s Novolazarevskaya Station, which is situation at the edge of the Antarctic continent. We are sure to hear more from Prince Harry as his team starts walking toward the South Pole!
By Nicci Mende