British Explorer Attempting to Cross Antarctica Solo & Unaided Has Died

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Henry Worsley in Antarctica recently
Henry Worsley in Antarctica recently

British explorer Henry Worsley, 55, has died due to exhaustion and dehydration while attempting to cross Antarctica unaided.  Henry’s wife has stated that he died of “complete organ failure.”  Henry died on day 71 of his expedition.  He’d planned on the expedition taking 75 days and brought enough food for 80 days.

Henry was a former British Army officer from London.  He had to be rescued only 30 miles from completing his 1,100-mile coast-to-coast goal.  He was raising money via his expedition for the Endeavor Fund, a group that raises money for wounded soldiers.  Henry was a veteran of Antarctica expeditions having already completed 2 expeditions to the South Pole.

Henry Worsley planned route.
Henry Worsley planned route.

Henry wanted to complete the unfinished journey of his personal hero, Ernest Shackleton, who was in Antarctica over 100 years ago.  In Henry’s final audio message, he simply said:  “My summit is just out of reach.”

In that final message, Henry went on to state that he did not have the ability to “slide one ski in front of the other”.

“”I will lick my wounds, they will heal over time and I will come to terms with the disappointment.” – Henry Worsley

Henry Worsley before his expedition.
Henry Worsley before his expedition.

Henry was rescued on Saturday, January 23rd, day number 71 of his expedition.  He died in a hospital in Punta Arenas, Chile on Sunday.

“When Henry was picked up by Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE), he was suffering from exhaustion and dehydration.

“He was flown to a hospital in Punta Arenas [in Chile] where he was found to have bacterial peritonitis.

“This resulted in Henry undergoing surgery but in spite of all the efforts of ALE and medical staff, he succumbed.” – The ReMark Group, supporters of Henry Worsley’s expedition

Peritonitis is the medical term for inflammation of the peritoneum, a thin layer of tissue that lines the abdomen.  Peritonitis generally comes from injury or infection in other parts of the body.

Henry Worsley and one of his camps in Antarctica.
Henry Worsley and one of his camps in Antarctica.

Henry Worsley began his 1,100-mile coast-to-coast journey across Antarctica in November 2015.  He pulled a sled that carried all of his gear for the 1,100-miles crossing.  His plan was to make the crossing completely unassisted.  Henry was also using a kite to help pull him along.

Antarctica is the highest, driest, coldest, windiest continent on Earth.

The first ever solo, unsupported crossing of Antarctica was done by Norwegian Borge Ousland in 1997.  The first woman to cross Antarctica solo was in January 2012, but her expedition was supported by air dropped supplies.

Fun photo of Henry
Fun photo of Henry

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