Sam Cox has begun his record-breaking solo unsupported ski crossing of Antarctica!

The expedition is expected to take two and a half months, covering over 2,000 kilometres (further than the distance from London to Rome) of unforgiving Antarctic desert and smashing the existing world record by over 500 kilometres. Sam’s route has never been attempted before and is over 500km further than any solo unsupported Antarctic expedition in history. The current world record holder is Captain Preet Chandhi MBE, who set it earlier this year with a distance of 1485km.

Sam first stepped onto the ice on Sunday 19th November, after travelling from the UK to South America and then on to Union Glacier in Antarctica. Yesterday he crossed the official start line, before skiing 16km towards the pole. The wait for an appropriate weather window meant a frustrating 15 day delay in Chile for Sam, giving him just 78 days to complete the crossing.

Lamont Kirkland, CEO of Team Forces, said: “It’s an absolute pleasure to back Sam on this world’s first expedition attempt. The sheer amount of preparation and training Sam has done shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s going to be a tough journey, but he’ll be a true pioneer making history on one of Earth’s last great wildernesses. It’s a truly epic expedition.”

Sam will be dragging all the supplies he needs in a specially designed pulk (sledge), including food for the entire 75-day expedition, spare equipment and communications gear. His pulk weighs 165 kilograms (26 stone) – the weight of two average adult men.

The only link Sam will have to the outside world is a beacon plotting his incremental location in case of emergency, and limited communications via sat phone. Sam will start his expedition at the north coast of Berkner Island and finish at the base of the Reedy glacier on the Ross ice shelf, going via the South Pole.

He’ll also be working with the Austrian Space Forum to research the impact of this expedition on the human brain, the psychological impact of this unfamiliar and relentless environment, where each day can be very similar to the last.

Sam said: “The opportunities for scientific research in Antarctica are limited, so this expedition is a chance for me to help with some really rare research. I’ll be taking part in studies that have never been done for this long in Antarctica.”

As a former Royal Marines Commando Officer, I will be drawing on a variety of skills and experiences to counter the challenges of the crossing head-on. Throughout the expedition, I will be collecting data regarding the toll it takes on his body and mind. This data will add meaningful research to significant scientific studies focused on human performance, sleep, and psychological stress responses whilst in austere environments for a prolonged period of time. Proudly supported by Team Forces this expedition will be over 500km further than any other unsupported ski expedition in history.

Sam Cox