Arup and the Shackleton Epic: a tribute to leadership and endurance

In February 2013, a team led by Arup’s Tim Jarvis became the first to successfully recreate the famous rescue by Sir Ernest Shackleton that took place almost a century earlier.

Jarvis led the team of adventurers across the Southern Ocean in a 7m whaling boat and then across South Georgia Island's mountainous interior.

Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic crossing of 1914 had never been successfully recreated before and the team did it using similar equipment to that available to the original expedition; from clothing to compasses.

To complete the task, Jarvis’ team called upon the inspirational leadership qualities that helped Shackleton successfully complete one of the most perilous polar journeys of all time.

The high profile expedition was designed to celebrate the centenary of Shackleton’s voyage, as well as highlighting the impact of climate change on the polar ice cap. Indeed, key among the sponsors supporting the trip was the international conservation group Fauna and Flora International.

The team

Six Arup staff members also joined the support vessel tracking the expedition and they undertook a number of leadership and climate impact activities along the way.

Further reading

Read Tim Jarvis' blogs on why leaders need passion and focusing attention on climate change.

Read Steve Lennon's blog on business in unchartered waters.

Read Margot Morrell's blog on how antarctic challenges inform business leaders.



Arup and the Shackleton Epic: a tribute to leadership and endurance

    • Tim Jarvis and Barry Gray at the end of the completed epic.

      Tim Jarvis and Barry Gray reached the final point of the expedition after a three day climb across South Georgia's mountainous interior.

    • Map of the original Shackleton Expedition, credit Frank Hurley, courtesy of the Royal Geographic Society. Open gallery

      The team recreated the gruelling Antarctic journey to highlight environmental change.

    • Black and white photo of the original expedition being waved off, credit Frank Hurley, Scottish Polar Search Insitute.

      The 2013 team used an exact replica of the original vessel used.