Last night members of the SPEAR17 came together in front of a knowledge-hungry crowd to discuss the epic adventure they began in late 2016. The team of six, led by Lou Rudd, spent 67 days trekking 1,100 miles across the Antarctic continent. The full details of their once-in-a-lifetime feat can be found here.

SPEAR17 Team at the Royal Geographic Society
The SPEAR17 team (L-R): Alex Brazier, Jamie Facer-Childs, Ollie Stoten, and team leader, Lou Rudd. Sandy Loder pitches the questions.

If the challenge wasn’t enduring enough, the rigorous selection process to become a part of the team, along with extensive training exercises, was a two-year accomplishment in itself. Each team member underwent a range of testing, including physical Nordic expeditions in temperatures as low as -35 Celsius, and personality tests to see which of the applicants were best suited to surviving the mentally-challenging long days in extreme conditions.

The meticulous planning by Lou meant every aspect was planned to the smallest detail and every eventuality was considered. This involved shedding as much weight as possible from their ‘pulks’, which averaged around 120kg, resorting to drastic measures such as sawing off the handles of their toothbrushes to save a couple of grams.

After an awe-inspiring presentation, which included video footage of their time on the ice, questions were pitched questions to the team by Sandy Loder, CEO of Peak Dynamics. This was followed by a momentary silence while audience members tried to process what the team had accomplished. Then it was question time! Questions ranged from “what was the hardest day for you?” to “what food did you miss when you were on the ice?”. (Lou spent a whole day creating his perfect hamburger, and upon his return home, his neighbour made it for him!)

The last question, and probably the most prominent from the evening, was “would you do the expedition again?” for which, without any thought, every member of the team present gave a resounding ‘yes’ with smiles upon their faces.

What a challenge! What a feat! What an inspiring team!

Thank you once again to SPEAR17 for raising vital funds for our soldiers, veterans and their families – the amount raised so far has surpassed £30,000.

To find out more about SPEAR17 and to show your support, please visit their website.

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