Charlotte Harding talks to a man on a mission to the South Pole.
As far as taking on challenges go attempting to be the youngest person ever to reach the South Pole completely alone is up there.
“I grew up reading Sir Ranulph Fiennes and was gripped by the sheer toughness both physically and mentally required to survive in the polar regions” explains Scott Sears.
“I’ve always been very interested about my own personal limits and an Antarctica solo appealed to me as the best possible way to push them to the extreme.”
When he steps on the ice on November 2017 it will have been two years in the planning.
Scott, who was born and raised in Lewes, is currently platoon commander in the Royal Gurhka Rifles and has been in Brunei for the last year, but will be returning to the UK as part of the 16 Air Assault Brigade.
“I’d wanted to join the Army since I was a young boy and as I got older that never really went away,” he reveals.
“I’m immensely proud of our country and always had huge respect for those who chose to serve it in some way, shape or form, both military and civilian.
“For me, the Army was the best way I felt I could do that whilst also presenting a host of challenges and adventures.”
To prepare his body for Antarctica and the strain of dragging 90kg 12 hours a day for six weeks he has been working with Nuffield Health.
“I’ve also got three more training expeditions throughout the year in Norway and Iceland to fine-tune my routine and equipment in conditions similar to Antarctica,” he says.
As with any challenge there are risks but as Scott is heading out to a remote location unsupported and unassisted it poses other issues.
“As a solo traveller the main risk for me are crevasses,” he explains.
“Antarctica is riddled with these enormous cracks in the ice that can be hundreds of metres deep.
“Most are completely invisible due to the fact snow bridges form over the top, which means when you walk across them they can way under your weight.
“When you add in the fact that there can be complete white-outs for days on end where you can only just about see the tips of your skis, avoiding them becomes almost impossible.”
Couple that with the fact Antarctica has the record for the highest wind speed ever recorded, Scott admits that putting up a tent by yourself in -50C when the winds are blowing at 80mph could be ‘tricky’.
“If something was to happen to my tent that wouldn’t be great,” he adds.
Considering this what do his family think?
“It definitely hasn’t been my most popular decision,” says Scott.
Alongside the personal challenge Scott has set himself he will also be raising money for charity Gurkha Welfare Trust, which goes towards making sure that the Gurkhas and their families are looked after.
“I was in Nepal last year when the devastating earthquake hit and unfortunately saw first hand the damage,” he says.
“A huge amount of Gurkha veterans homes were damaged and over the last year the Gurkha Welfare Trust has been working endlessly to try and help rebuild Nepal.
“Serving alongside Gurkhas will always be one of the proudest achievements of my life.”
And it is clear that Scott is excited about the challenge.
“I am looking forward to the moment I’m dropped off on the ice shelf and the twin otter plane leaves, when it will be just me alone looking at nothing but endless ice,” he enthuses.
“After two years of organisation, training and emails to try and get the expedition off the ground, that will be a very proud moment for me.”
For more information on Scott and the challenge you can follow him on Instagram @antarctic_gurkha or visit the website www.antarcticgurkha.com
The sponsors -
To take on a challenge like this you have to have the right kit and support.
“I’m very fortunate to have some start of the art kit designed by the awesome gents at Under Armour,” explains Scott.
“They managed to create some brand new materials which will keep me warm yet most importantly prevent sweating to the point that it then freezes.
“The gear isn’t going to be produced for the general public but UA have been produced a limited edition stock to sell with all proceeds going towards the Gurkha Welfare Trust.
“The gear will be available for purchase from www.antarcticgurkha.com in the coming year.
“Nuffield Health have been incredible in preparing me physically with the use of their experts and facilities. We’ll be releasing a video series soon to show exactly what that has entailed.
“I’ve also received some fantastic support from Sussex businesses. Scott Dunn and Electrical Thermometer Instruments in Worthing were two of my first sponsors and I’ll be immensely proud to hold their flags at the South Pole.”
To donate to the Gurkha Welfare Trust you can visit Scott’s charity page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/scottsears
This feature first appeared in the January edition of etc Magazine