Friend of Henry Worsley attempts solo Antarctica crossing

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Image copyright British army
Image caption Capt Louis Rudd feels his training and experience put him in a "great position" to complete the trek

A soldier has said he "feels confident" he can become the first person to cross Antarctica solo.

Capt Louis Rudd, who is based at Army barracks in Brecon, Powys, will begin the 1,000-mile trek in early November.

He was a friend of explorer Henry Worsley, who died after he tried to complete the journey.

Capt Rudd will be dropped on the Antarctic coast with supplies for 75 days and said it would be great if a Brit is the first "to crack this".

Captain Rudd said ever since "the sad events that took place with my close friend... it's been in the back of my mind that I'd like to go down and attempt this final great polar journey, a solo unsupported crossing.

"From a very young age I've been hugely inspired by the epic journeys of the polar pioneers."

Capt Rudd, who travels to the barracks from his home in Hereford, said he felt had the necessary experience to complete the journey.

"Without realising I've been preparing and training for this expedition for the last 10 years," he told BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales programme.

"There's been many attempts at the journey and obviously I've watched all those with great interest and learnt a lot from what's happened in the past as well, and feel now I'm in a great position hopefully to pull this off," he added.

"It'll be great for the British Army, its an army-owned expedition, and for the nation as well if a Brit is the first person to crack this."

Image copyright Shackleton Foundation
Image caption Henry Worsley died during surgery after contracting an infection during the trek

Capt Rudd said the risk he feared most was falling into a crevasse with his pulk, which is the toboggan carrying his supplies.

"I've fallen into crevasses before, but on team expeditions, and you're roped up and you've got team members that can help extract you.

"Falling in and having a major crevasse fall solo is a really concern. I'll be carrying a tracking beacon, hopefully they'll identify there's an issue if I stop moving."

He added he had been doing a lot of mental robustness training as well as physical, and had skied across Greenland in May and completed his final test run in Iceland two weeks ago.

Mr Worsley, 55, died after developing a serious infection as he was trying to complete the unfinished journey of his hero, Sir Ernest Shackleton, 100 years later, but in his final audio message in January 2016, he said: "My summit is just out of reach."

In that last broadcast, sent from Antarctica, he told supporters: "When my hero, Ernest Shackleton, was 97 miles from the South Pole on the morning of January the 9th 1909, he said he'd shot his bolt.

"Well, today I have to inform you with some sadness that I too have shot my bolt."

Mr Worsley said his journey had ended because he did not have the ability to "slide one ski in front of the other".

Image caption Henry Worsley - pictured earlier in his trip - posted a message saying he had run out of physical endurance