I had the honor of meeting Luc Hardy on September 13, 2016 following a screening of his excellent new documentary film,” The Pursuit of an Endurance – On the Shoulders of Shackleton”. Mr. Hardy is an experienced polar explorer, venture capitalist and vice president of Green Cross. He produced the film and led the expedition that traced Shackleton’s heroic voyage between Elephant Island and South Georgia Island, as well as Shackleton’s treacherous crossing of this mountainous island. Although I knew about the crossing, I now have a much better idea of the degree of difficulty Shackleton faced when he crossed the island with two of his men 100 years ago. Shackleton traversed the then uncharted island, ridged with 10,000 foot peaks, with primitive equipment and little supplies in thirty-six hours. In contrast, Mr. Hardy’s expedition, with modern equipment, maps, and tremendous logistical support, needed several attempts before they were successful.
In the Q&A following the film, I was surprised to learn how many people had never even heard of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the famous polar explorer who helped save his men from almost certain death after their ship, the Endurance was crushed in the Weddell Sea icepack. Their story of survival in the brutal conditions of Antarctica is beyond compare. Of course, I didn’t know much about Shackleton either, until 1970 when I was the ship’s doctor aboard a Coast Guard icebreaker, the Glacier, and we ended up hopelessly trapped in the same icepack, in essentially the same place as Shackleton, 100 miles from open water. Fortunately, our outcome was far less harrowing then Shackleton’s and it gave me a great story to tell.
The attached trailer of Luc Hardy’s film should give you a much better idea about Shackleton’s saga. I will be writing more about Shackleton in subsequent posts.