World-record breaking South Pole challenge

29th August 2017

A former soldier is counting down the days to taking on the challenge to become the fastest person to ski solo to the South Pole

South Pole challenge

In 100 days time ex-soldier, public speaker and IT consultant, James Redden, 46, will embark on a full distance solo, unsupported and unaided 700-mile ski to the Geographic South Pole.

The father of two from Thame in Oxfordshire has accepted a challenge thrown down by the current world record holder, Norway’s Christian Eide, to beat his journey time of 24 days, I hour and 13 minutes, set in January 2011. 

Raising awareness and funds

By undertaking the North by South challenge, which starts on 4 December from Hercules Inlet, James will also be raising awareness and funds for two UK charities, ourselves and Soundabout.

“The journey will be brutal and includes a climb from sea level to about 3,000 metres”, James said. “Currently only 26 people in the world have taken on this challenging adventure where temperatures can dip as low as minus 40c with wind speeds of up to 80mph.”

On average James will ski for 12 hours each day, burning 6,000 calories – about the equivalent of 24 Big Macs. He’ll tow all his own food and equipment in a pulk.

No stranger to challenge

Adventurer James is no stranger though to mental and physical challenges. His journeys have taken him from the jungles of South East Asia, through the Sahara desert, along the African continent and into South America. He’s skied large distances across Norway and in April last year skied to the Geographic North Pole.

Now, with training in full swing and 100 days to go until his world record challenge is under way, James is planning to meet up with Christian Eide in Oslo to learn from his experience about the conditions to expect and the best route to take to the Pole. This latest expedition will feature a world-first collaboration with Microsoft to track heart rate, calories burned, distance travelled and GPS waypoints each day.

Stay updated on progress

James will also be taking questions and answering them via satellite call. Audio updates will be posted on Soundcloud. To ensure he stays connected James will be taking an Iridium 9575 Satellite Phone and an Iridium GO! Satellite Wi-Fi Hotspot, provided by Hereford-based GRC, allowing him to check in, access social media, share photos and keep everyone updated on his progress – despite being in one of the most remote locations in the world.

“The journey will be long and lonely,” James added. “There will be no resupplies and no equipment like snow scooters but the beauty of the polar landscape and the good causes inspiring me will drive me forward.”

James has chosen to support us and Soundabout because we have both supported his friend Nikki Kelly and her family. Nikki’s son Toby had meningitis and is living with the after-effects.

Design a flag for James 

With Soundabout we’re also be launching a competition to design a flag, which will be flown out for James to unfurl when he reaches the South Pole. Look out for details on our social media channels.

Tom Nutt, our Chief Executive, and Mark Smyth, Chief Executive at Soundabout said: “What an unforgettable adventure James is undertaking. We wish him well and thank him for all his efforts to raise funds and awareness for us. As two small charities we rely on the energy and enthusiasm of our supporters for the funds we need to carry out our vital support work.”

Soundabout has pioneered the use of music, rhythm and sound to give disabled children and adults a voice, a way to express themselves and be listened to.

Read more on James’s journeys and support his latest world-breaking record attempt.