Celebrity Explorers Reach South Pole

Photo Credit: Robert Leveritt/Getty Images

The 2013 Antarctic season is only about half over, but it has already been a very active year at the bottom of the world. Numerous  teams are currently en route to the South Pole with several adventurers attempting to be the fastest or youngest to reach that point on the frozen continent. One of the more high profile expeditions taking place this season came to a conclusion last Friday  however, when the members of the South Pole Allied Challenge team skied to 90°S. The team, which is mostly made up of servicemen and women who were injured in the line of duty, also included some well known celebrities, not to mention a member of the British royal family. 

The team consisted of 12 total members that were supported by the Walking With The Wounded organization. They began their journey four weeks back, when they first traveled to Novo Research Station in the Antarctic. Once there, they hopped a flight to the 87th line of latitude, where they split into three teams who were originally planning to race to the South Pole. That plan was later scrubbed due to concerns over safety, and the teams eventually joined forces to cover the final distance to their goal. All told, they skied a total of about 200 km (124 miles) to become the first team to reach the Pole this year.

Each of the original teams had a celebrity captain of sorts who helped lead them to the finish line. Team UK was led by Prince Harry, while Team USA counted actor Alexander Skarsgard, of True Blood fame, as one of its members. The third squad, Team Commonwealth, included actor Dominic West (The Wire) amongst its group as well. Skarsgard and West are relatively new to this kind of adventure, but embraced it enthusiastically. Prince Harry, on the other hand, has been the Patron for Walking With The Wounded for several years and even trained to go to the North Pole with a different group of adventurers back in 2011. He wasn’t able to reach the Pole on that expedition due to having to return to London for his brother’s wedding however, but this time he got the chance to stick it out until the end.

With their mission now accomplished, the entire team is now preparing to head home. They’ve been picked up and flown back to to Novo station, where they now wait for a flight home. For many of members of the team this was the adventure of a lifetime, but after a month out on the ice, they’re now more than ready to put the frozen Antarctic setting behind them.