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Last night it was confirmed that Royal Marine Veteran Baz Gray had successfully reached the South Pole, on day 39 of the gruelling Challenge Antarctica.
The Royal Marines Charity are proud to have supported Baz’s mission of successfully crossing Antarctica, coast to coast, from McMurdo Sound to Berkner Island. Challenge Antarctica is a completely solo expedition, without any support whatsoever - such as the use of dogs, kites and resupply.
Baz is a former Royal Marines Commando, Regimental Sergeant Major who has used all of his experience gained in the Royal Marines Commandos to push on and keep strong in this inhospitable environment and cope with the intense solitude and tranquillity. For 25 years Baz has been living, learning, teaching, and surviving in some of the most remote places on the planet as part of his service.
While in the Royal Marines, Baz spent a year in Antarctica as the cold weather expert to the Royal Navy’s HMS Endurance. Responsible for training and equipping the 120-strong crew. He was also a pivotal member of the 2013 Shackleton Epic expedition, re-creating authentically the 800-mile ocean crossing of Ernest Shackleton from Elephant Island to South Georgia and scaling the mountains to reach the safety of Stromness Harbour. This is a region he knows and loves and his resilience is shining through during this challenge having encountered some terrible weather conditions.
Throughout the expedition, Baz battled atrocious weather, with Antarctica unleashing some of the harshest conditions with warning warnings and whiteouts at the start of the challenge, with soft snow making pulling his laden pulk extremely hard going.
Following successful completion of phase one, Baz will return to Antarctica later this year to successfully cross the Entire Antarctic Continent starting from the North side of Berkner Island on the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf to the South Pole and then continuing to the Ross Ice Shelf via the Shackleton Glacier and onto the edge of the ice. This will be done solo and without any support including the use of kites and resupply and covers 1600 miles over 90 days. This will start in November 2019 and aims to be completed by the end of January 2020.
Baz has been using the Challenge to raise awareness and funds for The Royal Marines Charity. For many years now, Baz has been a passionate supporter of forces’ charities and in particular The Royal Marines Charity. He has seen many colleagues seriously injured in battle and has lost many friends over the years.
All at The Royal Marines Charity would like to congratulate Baz on this incredible feat and look forward to following his journey again later in the year as he completes phase 2 of Challenge Antarctica.