Henry Worsley: Dies On Antarctic Trek

Published: January 26, 2016

Henry Worsley: Dies On Antarctic Trek, The message, transmitted on Friday via satellite telephone from freezing isolation in Antarctica, sounded resigned, melancholy and indisputably weary, as the speaker recalled the end of a previous explorer’s attempt to traverse the most inhospitable terrain on earth and now found himself in his predecessor’s snow boots.

“When my hero, Ernest Shackleton, stood 97 miles from the South Pole on the morning of Jan. 9, 1909, he said he’d shot his bolt,” the British adventurer Henry Worsley said in the message. “Well, today, I have to inform you with some sadness that I, too, have shot my bolt.”

“My journey is at an end,” Mr. Worsley said. “I have run out of time, physical endurance and a simple sheer inability to slide one ski in front of the other to travel the distance required to reach my goal.”

Mr. Worsley’s disappointment was acute and his sense of failure more intense because of how close he had come to success. Attempting to be the first person to cross Antarctica on foot, unassisted and unsupported, he crossed more than 900 miles and was forced, by exhaustion and ill health, to call for help 30 miles from his journey’s intended end.

But his story grew far worse than disappointing. Rescued and flown to a hospital in Punta Arenas, in the Patagonia region of southern Chile, he was given a diagnosis of peritonitis, and he died on Sunday. He was 55.

The death was reported on the website of the Royal Foundation, the philanthropic agency of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Mr. Worsley, a career soldier before he retired from the British military in October, was making his trek to raise money for the Endeavour Fund, a Royal Foundation project that supports the recovery of wounded and sick service members.

“We have lost a friend, but he will remain an inspiration to us all,” Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, said in a statement.

Mr. Worsley’s fascination with Antarctica – and Shackleton – was lifelong. He was a descendant of Frank Worsley, whose seamanship during Shackleton’s approach to Antarctica as 1914 turned to 1915 saved the crew after the ship became trapped in sea ice.


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