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Shackleton: Explorers Complete Epic Journey
Two exhausted adventurers have successfully recreated one of the most dangerous and historic journeys ever made on Earth.
After a gruelling 19-day trip, expedition leader Tim Jarvis and mountaineer Royal Marine Barry Gray finally reached the old whaling station at Stromness on South Georgia island in the Antarctic at 10.45pm on Sunday.
It is the same location where Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men raised the alarm that the crew of the Endurance needed rescue, almost 100 years ago.
Six Australian and British crew members began the journey - just as in 1916 - leaving Elephant Island in an exact replica of the cramped 6.9-metre lifeboat the James Caird.
They crossed 800 nautical miles of the notorious Southern Ocean before reaching South Georgia.
Just as Shackleton did, Mr Jarvis then chose two of his men to continue with him and traverse the mountainous interior of the island using traditional gear.
Veteran polar adventurer Mr Jarvis said: "It was epic, really epic, and we've arrived here against the odds.
"The ice climb at the Tridents is a serious thing and Shackleton didn't exaggerate - with ice at 50 degrees, with one wrong foot, we could have careened down a crevasse.
"It was the same for the Crean and Fortuna glacier. We had more than 20 crevasse falls up to our knees and Baz fell into a crevasse up to his armpits."
The pair wore identical clothing to that worn by Shackleton's crew, and navigated using the stars and sun. They even survived on similar rations.
"It might have taken us double the time it took Shackleton to cross the mountains due to the extreme weather we encountered but we were able to complete the sea journey in a faster time by some five days," Mr Jarvis said.
"Mother Nature rules out here and you just have to go with what she dishes up and make the best of it."
Mr Jarvis and Mr Gray were pinned down for 24 hours atop the plateau at Shackleton's Gap on the first part of the climb by a ferocious blizzard.
The third team member, navigator Paul Larsen, and a support team and film crew were evacuated from the mountain.
They waited on the support vessel in a nearby bay until the weather passed and Mr Larsen was able to re-join the two men.
While the duo had to resort to using a modern tent and sleeping bags to survive the blizzard, they endeavoured to re-enact the expedition as authentically as possible throughout the arduous journey.
"There's no doubt in my mind that everyone has a Shackleton double in them and I hope we've inspired a few people to find theirs," he said.
As well as enduring freezing conditions, sleep deprivation, dehydration and 50 knot winds some of the crew were diagnosed with "trench foot".
Shackleton's 1916 journey to raise the alarm about the sinking of his ship the Endurance is considered one of the greatest-ever survival tales.
During his third visit to the region the explorer's boat became trapped in 1915 and sank 10 months later as it was crushed by the advancing ice.
After living on the floating ice until April 1916, they set off in three small boats for Elephant Island.
From there, Shackleton and five crew made the voyage to South Georgia followed by the mountainous trek to the whaling station.
All members of the Endurance were eventually rescued confirming Shackleton's status as one of the greatest Antarctic explorers.
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