Henry Worsley: Memories and Lessons

British North Pole 2016 Trio, Mark Wood, Mark Langridge and Paul Vicary, had close ties with Henry

(Correne Coetzer) The Polar Community is shocked and saddened by the death of Henry Yesterday, 2011-12 team mate, Lou Rudd, sent over memories of his friend.

The British Trio, Mark Wood, Mark Langridge and Paul Vicary, who will set off on a North Pole expedition from Russia next month, had close ties to Henry. In the 2011-12 Centenary season, Langridge and Vicary were racing Worsley and Rudd from the Ross Ice Shelf to the Pole. They followed Scott and Amundsen’s routes, respectively. Worsley and Rudd won. Solo Mark Wood arrived the day after Worsley and Rudd at the Pole, from Hercules Inlet.

“We are all devastated at the moment,” the guys told Explorersweb/Pythom. “It really does bring home how tough these expeditions can be.”

“This is terrible news and we are all devastated. We have had many friends, especially in the military, that die at a young age or doing their job. Henry was doing something that he loved. He was a respected, admired, inspirational leader and the world has lost a great explorer. We have lost a dear friend. Our hearts and prayers are with Joanna and Henry’s family at this time.”

On Pythom

In a story posted on Pythom, A Short Note On The Death Of Henry Worsley, Mikael Strandberg wrote, “My first thought when my feeling of shock, sadness and a certain sense of being frightened had passed, was: “Oh no, I hope this doesn’t mean that this current global trend to restrict access and create insane laws to hinder human freedom in the silly name of protecting lives or for the stability of society will be applied to Antarctica now!”


But Henry´s journey was different in many ways. Most of all because he was a mature and grown up man who took on an almost inhuman challenge, which ended with his death. He worked himself to death one could say. But surrounded by a nature he loved and needed. For me, I see no better way to leave life and move on beyond it than this way. And, this is a choice for the individual, not for a governing body to put restrictions on. […]”

In a comment to the above story, Tina Sjogren, the first women to ski to both Poles unassisted and unsupported, wrote, “I too was shocked, my adventure friends die in the mountains, not at Antarctica. I didn’t know Henry personally but he and Exweb went back to 2008 in interviews, and he got some tech gear from us. Everyone I talk to say he was such a nice guy, a man of justness.”

“The hard part for really disciplined people is to decide when to push and when to quit. The very virtue of never giving up can turn on you. Tom and I have done the right choices so far but a few times only by a hair. We have discussed with other South Pole skiers what could have gone wrong with Henry. […]”

“As for a shut-off world, I’m in Texas right now, fences everywhere limiting access to endless, empty pastures and emerald green rivers. […] I think Henry would have agreed with us both Micke that we need to fight for what’s left of our freedom.”

The 2015-16 solo traverse attempt was Henry Worsley’s third South Pole expedition, commemorating Shackleton’s Endurance expedition hundred years ago and his intended route, had he set off. Both Henry’s previous routes were full routes (coast to Pole), starting from the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, following Scott/Shackleton and Amundsen’s routes. His 2008-09 expedition followed Shackleton’s 1908-09 and Scott’s 1911-12 route through the Beardmore Glacier (1,480 km). Henry’s 2011-12 expedition followed Amundsen’s route through Axel Heiberg Glacier (1,230 km). Henry is the only person ever to have recreated these Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen’s routes.

During the 2008-09, expedition Henry carried Shackleton’s compass in his pocket. Back then, Shackleton didn’t reach the Pole, he turned around 97 miles before the Pole. During the expedition with Lou, Henry carried the polar medal posthumously awarded to Lawrence (Titus) Oates, member of Scott’s team.


“Memories of a great friend,” Lou Rudd remembers Henry Worsley

Ski North Pole 2016: British Trio