South Pole Challenge 2024
In December 2024, Darren Edwards will attempt to complete the longest sit-ski expedition in the history of Antarctic exploration. In this epic undertaking to reach the South Pole, Darren will be supported by three of his closest friends, including the man who saved his life on the day of his climbing accident in 2016. It is the hope of Darren and his team that, by reaching the South Pole, they will provide hope and inspiration to anyone experiencing adversity.
Departing Union Glacier Camp, a spectacular and remote outpost on the North-West of the Antarctic continent, the team will board a De Haviland ‘Twin Otter’ aircraft for the flight to 87° South. From this point on, the team are on their own and will need to navigate its way to the South Pole across the continent’s frozen plateau (and all the challenges this will present).
From their drop-off point, the team will cover 333 kilometres to the Geographical South Pole. Darren and the team will face temperatures below -20C, and will be operating at the very limit of what is possible for someone with a high-level Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). Currently, the furthest distance travelled by a sit-ski to reach the South Pole is 111 kilometres. Antarctica is a dangerous place for anyone, let alone someone with a Spinal Cord Injury. Working together, the team will face the risk of extreme temperatures, altitude sickness, exhaustion, and changeable/adverse environmental conditions (sastrugi, high winds, storms, and crevasses).
The true purpose behind taking on the South Pole Challenge, in addition to changing perceptions of disability and giving hope to anyone experiencing adversity, is to raise £300,000 for the charity Wings for Life which seeks to find a cure for Spinal Cord Injury, and funds promising research projects across the globe – with breathtaking results.
Together we can find a cure for Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)…
There are an estimated 50,000 people in the UK living with a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) and each year approximately 2,500 people are newly injured. Globally, more than 300,000 people suffer an SCI each year (World Health Organisation). It can happen to anyone. Especially in everyday life. Spinal Cord Injury is a truly life-changing injury, one which affects more than just one’s ability to walk (bladder, bowels, sexual function).
Wings for Life is a charity for Spinal Cord research and uses donations to support promising research projects and clinical studies worldwide to heal the injured spinal cord. The charity’s mission is to find a cure for Spinal Cord Injury. Because science agrees, injured nerve cells are capable of regeneration. Since its inception in 2012, Wings for Life has funded more than 270 research projects worldwide. For the first time in history, there is confidence that, in the next decade, we will be able to find a life-altering cure for Spinal Cord Injury.
“To be able to walk again, and to feel the hills and mountains beneath my feet, would be the most profound and emotive moment of my life. Even if the research conducted by Wings for Life isn’t able to cure my condition, I hope that it will benefit anyone in the future who sustains a spinal injury and will allow them to walk out through the hospital doors as I had once dreamed of doing”. (Darren Edwards)
Sponsors and Corporate Partners
To reach the South Pole successfully, the team will rely upon an extensive network of logistics to get onto Earth’s frozen continent and then to their starting point at 87° South, 333 kilometres from the Geographic South Pole. This support is provided by Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE) which oversees all expeditions across Antarctica.
Unsurprisingly, an expedition of this scale comes with significant costs (£250,000), which we intend to mitigate through corporate sponsorship and partnership. We are eager to work with companies and organizations that embody the same ethos and values of our expedition so that our goals complement each other: