Prince Harry, war veterans reach South Pole after gruelling 2-week trek
Published Friday, December 13, 2013 10:10AM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 13, 2013 9:48PM EST
Two weeks after setting out on a gruelling journey to the Antarctica, Prince Harry and a group of wounded war veterans have reached their destination to the South Pole.
The 29-year-old British Royal completed the 320-kilometre trek as part of the Walking with the Wounded South Pole Challenge, an expedition that aims to raise money for charity as well as awareness about the sacrifices of military men and women.
Harry was a member of one of three teams that included war veterans from Britain, the Commonwealth and the United States.
The charity said Friday the three teams arrived at the South Pole at 8:25 a.m. ET. The 12-day journey was expected to take 16 days.
Harry, who is fourth in line to the British throne, is the first member of the Royal Family to reach the extreme destination.
Harry celebrated with his teammates at the cold finish with cheers and hugs.
“We’ve all touched the ball, we’ve all had photos, we’ve all had hugs, a few tears here and there,” said Harry. “All in all, the mission is a success,” he said.
Among Harry’s 12 teammates were Alberta’s Chris Downey and Quebec’s Alexandre Beaudin D’Anjou, both injured in IED attacks in Afghanistan.
The expedition began as a race but the competitive element was cancelled after some suffered from altitude sickness.
Instead, the team tackled the harrowing conditions together, pulling 75-kilogram sleds in temperatures that dipped as low as -35 C.
“We had so many things going against us, we had beautiful weather but bad weather before and bad terrain and injuries,” the prince said. “But everyone’s made it, all 12 of them.”
Harry, an army Apache helicopter pilot who has served two tours in Afghanistan, said the mission proves anything is possible.
In 2011, he travelled with wounded servicemen to the North Pole in a similar expedition, but had to withdraw early to attend his brother William’s wedding.
With a report from CTV News’ Janet Dirks