Three teams of wounded soldiers from the United Kingdom, The United States and the Commonwealth will tackle the inhospitable Antarctic, overcoming the savage conditions and their own injuries as they race to reach the South Pole as part of the highest profile modern day expedition.
“The vision behind Walking With The Wounded – to reintegrate wounded servicemen and women successfully into civilian life – recognises the unquenchable spirit and drive of those young people. It aims to harness their determination and energy, whilst adjusting their mindset to face the numerous challenges that lie ahead. The adventures exemplify the tenacity and remarkable courage of those who serve in uniform”
– HRH Prince Henry of Wales, Expedition Patron, speaking in Feb 2012
Walking With The Wounded today announces the start of its latest pioneering expedition following the successes of 2011‘s record-breaking trek to the North Pole with Patron, Prince Harry, and the assault on the imposing Mt Everest in 2012. This time, teams of wounded service personnel from the USA and the Commonwealth – New Zealand, Canada and Australia – will race across the Antarctic in November and December 2013 under the patronage of Prince Harry.
￼￼The Walking With The Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge 2013, predicted by polar experts to be the largest modern day expedition of its type, will be composed of three teams of wounded service personnel from The United Kingdom, The United States and the Commonwealth of Nations, all with either physical or cognitive injuries sustained in the line of duty. The teams will represent and raise funds for military charities from the constituent nations: Soldier On from Canada, The Wounded Warrior Trust from New Zealand, Soldiers to Summits from the United States and Soldier On from Australia.
“The Walking With The Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge will demonstrate the close bond between the UK forces and our allies both on and off the battlefield. There is no doubt that the young men and women who take part in our expeditions are an inspiration; they prove what is possible post-injury given the right support”
– Edward Parker, Co-Founder of Walking With The Wounded
This expedition will last for a period of four weeks and the teams will cover a total of 335km, which will be divided into managed stages and checkpoints. Each team will have a nominated mentor, an experienced polar guide. As with all Walking With The Wounded expeditions, safety is of paramount importance. The South Pole Allied Challenge will have its own specialist support and medical staff. The challenges of the North Pole in 2011 will be multiplied due to the increased hostility of the Arctic conditions.
Whilst trekking around 15 to 20km per day, our teams will endure temperatures as low as -45°C and 50mph winds as they pull their pulks (custom built arctic sledges), each weighing in excess of 70kg, towards the southern most point on the globe. Not only will they be forced to battle these harsh weather conditions, there will be vast crevasses, moving ice-shelves, glaciers and snow storms. Underlining these challenges will be the life-changing physical and cognitive injuries sustained by the team members during their military service. A taxing task for any able-bodied adventurer, this challenge will be made all the more difficult by the injuries sustained by our wounded participants. These injuries will require constant monitoring and management to ensure they can progress safely to the Pole.
Following their support of the Everest 2012 expedition, Glenfiddich will be the sponsor of the British team, meaning that the opportunity remains open for Team Partners to sponsor the USA and Commonwealth teams. Since the first spirit flowed from the Glenfiddich stills on Christmas Day in 1887, Glenfiddich’s family-owned distillery has built a reputation for producing some of the finest whisky on the market. Since 2000 Glenfiddich has won more gold medals at the Wine & Spirits Competition than any other single malt Scotch whisky. For centuries Glenfiddich has had strong links to scores of historic and ground-breaking expeditions, making it the perfect partner for the Walking With The Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge.
“The Everest expedition was a fantastic partnership for Glenfiddich and we are excited about continuing this relationship for the South Pole Allied Challenge in 2013. Glenfiddich is intrinsically linked with the history of pioneering expeditions; it featured in Captain Scott’s inventory and was a favourite of Sir Edmund Hilary. The ‘can do’ attitude of the wounded service personnel echoes the Glenfiddich pioneering spirit of which we are so proud”
– Annabelle Clarke, Senior Brand Manager of Glenfiddich
￼Antarctica is the only continent to have never had an indigenous population – the conditions are relentlessly harsh, often perilous and perennially unforgiving. For our teams to be successful in this expedition they must be protected from the elements. They will require not just the best gear, but specially designed equipment and clothing which takes into account their unique injuries. Helly Hansen is a Norwegian company with over 135 years of protecting and enabling professionals in some of the harshest environments on earth. They supported Walking With The Wounded at both the North Pole and Everest, and are stepping up again as the Official Clothing Supplier.
“We are very proud at Helly Hansen to continue our support of the Walking with the Wounded team. We’ve again been entrusted with the responsibility of keeping them confident, protected and enabled in the face of some ferocious conditions. Throughout our 135 year history, Helly Hansen has been at the forefront of technology and design innovation. We’ll call on all that experience and do our very best to help ensure the teams have a safe and successful expedition . . . and remain confident when it matters”
– Eric Burbank, VP Marketing of Helly Hansen
This ground-breaking fundraising opportunity will provide an exceptional example of man taking on nature’s harshest and most unforgiving environment and will once again prove that with the right support our wounded servicemen and women are capable achieving of amazing and inspiring things.
“Our teams will take part in the highest profile modern day expedition; the number and international provenance of participants, the royal patronage, the distances covered and the market-leading communications and support infrastructure will ensure that the Walking With The Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge will set a new benchmark in terms of expeditions. If any brands or companies wish to take the opportunity to partner with us in this truly unique charitable project then I would, of course, be delighted to hear from them”.
– Victoria Nicholson, Expedition Manager