Imagine facing endless white, day after day, in frozen Antarctica. (AP)

Imagine facing endless white, day after day, in frozen Antarctica. (AP)

A screen from https://shackletonlondon.com/pages/expedition, where the adventurer’s sponsor invites people to follow Louis Rudd’s progress

A screen from https://shackletonlondon.com/pages/expedition, where the adventurer’s sponsor invites people to follow Louis Rudd’s progress

Louis Rudd’s planned route is seen on a map of Antarctica.

Louis Rudd’s planned route is seen on a map of Antarctica.

Louis Rudd’s route to the South Pole includes challenging mountains. (AP)

Louis Rudd’s route to the South Pole includes challenging mountains. (AP)

Mr. Rudd’s friend, the British adventurer Henry Worsley, died while attempting to cross the Antarctic alone. (AP)

Mr. Rudd’s friend, the British adventurer Henry Worsley, died while attempting to cross the Antarctic alone. (AP)

Satellite image of Antarctica (NASA)

Satellite image of Antarctica (NASA)

Alone into the White

Posted: December 31, 2018

Louis Rudd tries to become the first person to cross Antarctica by himself—with no transportation but his own two feet! Is that even possible? Mr. Rudd admits: just barely!

Mr. Rudd started his journey on November 3. Over 900 miles of ice and snow lay before him. He drags a seven-and-a-half-foot sled. The sled is attached to his waist. It holds 330 pounds of food and supplies. He expects his journey to take about 75 days. He’ll fight constipation, dehydration, exhaustion, frostbite, snow blindness, and sunburn. He will travel in temperatures of negative 58 degrees and 100 mile per hour winds. It sounds like a job for a soldier—which is exactly what Mr. Rudd is. He trained to fight in the Arctic in the British Army. Last year, he led an Army team across Antarctica, “The Great White Continent.” But he has never tried it alone until now.

The load will get lighter as he goes. He will eat through the protein bars, nuts, and salami he’s pulling. But he has only an iPod for company. The isolation will probably become harder and harder to bear. An American named Colin O’Brady is trying the same thing. The men began at the same time within a mile and a half of each other. So they are together . . . yet utterly alone.

Mr. Rudd’s wife, Lucy, and children Luke, Amy, and Sophie watch the journey from their home in England. They gave him “super-light” presents to open on Christmas. Mr. Rudd plans to finish the journey on or near January 27. He prepared for this journey for nearly 10 years. Before setting out, he declared, “I absolutely love the sheer vastness of Antarctica.” But you have to wonder: Will he still feel that way once he’s done?

In the end, Mr. Rudd makes it across Antarctica much faster than he expects. He finishes his trip after just 56 days! But he doesn't finish first. Mr. O'Brady arrives at the end of the journey two days earlier.