AN EXPLORER from Stratford is going ahead with his most dangerous ever expedition just weeks after the death of a close friend and fellow explorer.
Mark Wood paid tribute to Henry Worsley who lost his life after failing in his bid become the first man to complete a solo expedition across Antarctica unassisted.
Henry was just 30 miles from completing his epic journey – marking the 100th anniversary of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s famous Endurance expedition – when he had to be airlifted to hospital in Chile.
Sadly the 55 year-old passed away after being diagnosed with bacterial peritonitis.
Mark, who has already scaled the heights of Mount Everest and recently skied solo to the North and South Poles over six months to raise awareness of climate change, is now preparing for his toughest challenge yet trekking from the Russian arctic coast to the North Pole.
The 38-year-old, who first met Henry when he arrived at the South Pole in 2012, said: “Henry was an extraordinary, strong-willed, powerful, man with a deep sense of humour.
“I can see why Henry wanted to take on the expedition – not only for historical reasons but also personally.
“The problem with great explorers like Henry is he has a real British determination about him to go that little bit further.
“If you’re travelling as a team you have different people to add their judgement – if it was a team approach the expedition would’ve stopped a little earlier I think.
“I think he pushed himself as far as he could.”
The main focus of Henry’s expedition was to help wounded soldiers with their rehabilitation.
Over £100,000 has been raised by Henry for the Endeavour Fund – the charity supported by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, which helps injured servicemen and women.
EXPLORER Mark Wood has been on countless missions, but even he admits to feeling scared as he counts down the days to his most dangerous challenge yet.
The Stratford-based adventurer has already scaled the heights of Mount Everest and recently skied solo to the North and South Poles over six months to raise awareness of climate change.
Now the 38 year-old is hoping to step into the history books by trekking from the Russian arctic coast to the North Pole across fragile ice in what could be the last mission of its kind by a British team.
Along with two serving soldiers, Paul Vicary and Mark Langridge, the three-man team will set off on its 60-day expedition in a couple of weeks across one of the most unforgiving environments on the planet.
All three men will be putting their lives on the line but Mark insisted it would all be worth it in a bid to raise awareness of climate change.
He told the Observer: “I’ve done other things before that have been tough, don’t get me wrong, but this is something that when I wake up in the morning I’m scared – I really am.
“My heart is beating faster every day as the expedition approaches. Some people don’t survive in these situations. It will be dark and minus 60 so the first few weeks will be a frozen hell.
“This has always been something I wanted to do. It is probably the toughest expedition on the planet because of the unpredictability of the ice and we don’t know what we’ll face.
“We’re stating this could be the last expedition of its kind in history to go from the coastline. I hope we’re wrong.”
The 600 mile trek will see Coventry-born Mark and the team spend what he describes as ’60 days in a freezer’ to complete the challenge which aims to record and expose the real, first-hand effects of global warming.
Very few have completed the journey and, due to climate change, it is one scientists predict will become impossible by 2058.
Mark plans to use his latest expedition to educate schoolchildren and inspire the next generation of explorers.
The team will be filming the entire expedition.
Mark explained: “A helicopter will drop us off on the coastline of Russia and it will film us disappearing on ice.
“Then we’ll take the camera on the journey, swimming across the water, cold winds, and there will be a high risk of polar bears.
“If they’re on the ice that far out that means they’re hungry. It’s quite low down the list to be honest but we will be carrying a gun just in case!”
Mark is looking forward to educating young people about the real threat global warming poses.
“It’s about understanding our planet and I want students to appreciate what there is by opening their eyes and going through the doorways,” added Mark.
And while apprehensive about the expedition he is also confident.
“If didn’t think we could complete this we wouldn’t be attempting it.
“We’re all confident and we’re going to give it our best shot. This is the most difficult expedition to do.
“We’ve got 60 days worth of food and we will use that wherever we end up.”
The team will set off on February 20. Visit northpole16.com to follow their fortunes.