A YEAR IN SHACKLETON CHALLENGES // A Note from Co-Founder Ian Holdcroft

To mark the close of 2023 Shackleton Co-Founder, Ian Holdcroft has penned a journal. With huge strides made for Shackleton Challenges across the world and with plenty of new developments for 2024 this is not one to miss. 

When we launched Shackleton Challenges in 2021, we set out to change people's lives; admittedly a huge ambition, but feedback from our clients suggests we are doing just that. 

"At the end of this experience I truly felt as if I had conquered a side of myself that didn’t believe intense physical challenges were something for me."

At the heart of Shackleton Challenges is an authentic expedition experience led by record breaking explorers in some of the planet's most awe-inspiring environments. We design our Challenges to be unique experiences that have a transformative impact on all those who venture with us. We learn more about ourselves when we step outside our comfort zone, go into new environments and have an exhilarating experience.

We started 2023 with our Director of Expeditions, Louis Rudd, leading clients to the South Pole.

For one of our clients, Ifan, it was his third Shackleton Challenge in a little under 12 months and the conclusion of a journey that started in Finse on our Polar Skills Challenge in March 2022. Well done Ifan on a fabulous achievement and testament that anything is possible. 

Louis, Liam and Ifan on the Last Degree Challenge

Louis, Liam & Ifan

Earlier this year I spent two weeks at Shackleton HQ in Finse and joined the Expedition Challenge. We endured some challenging conditions with low temperatures, strong winds and heavy snowfall, which made for an epic experience for all our guests. 

Finse Expedition Challenge

We have added some extraordinary new Challenges to our schedule for 2024 and 2025.

We’ll be ending the year where we began, heading back South for the Antarctic season and our Last Degree Challenge once again. At the same time we will be delivering our first Polar Pioneers Challenge. We’re really excited to be heading into the wilderness and the unclimbed peaks of the Heritage Mountain range, Antarctica. The ski journey follows a majestic route into the heart of the mountains with ice couloirs, classic ridge traverses, rock pyramids and hidden valleys. The Heritage range offers a Challenge to suit any adventurers’ level of experience and offers the opportunity to be the first person in history to climb one of the incredible mountains in this little known region of the coldest, driest continent on earth. 

Following our return from the South Pole, we’ll be basing ourselves at our Norwegian home, Finse. On the edge of the Hardangervidda National Park, this majestic place is steeped in polar history, it’s where the polar greats of the early 20th century all trained, including Scott, Amundsen and of course Shackleton. Although only a 4 hour snow train ride from Oslo, this location is otherworldly. You step straight onto the snow when disembarking the train, where you will be met by the Shackleton team. You have to experience it to believe it. 

To coincide with the opening of our store on London’s Piccadilly, we launched our first range of women’s apparel and we also announced our first women’s only Challenge. Guided by our all female team, led by Wendy Searle, you will experience the stunning vistas of this Norwegian high plateau.

In the summer months we move into the mountains for our Alpine Challenges. The Shackleton team bases itself in the ultimate adventure playground, Chamonix, to lead our Alpine Skills and Mont Blanc Challenges.

We’ll be in the Lofoten Islands, Norway in June to traverse the 160km archipelago on foot and by sea. Lofoten is a place of raw, northerly elements where big ocean swells slam into jagged mountain peaks rising vertically from the sea. Few places on earth bring together the elements of mountain and ocean with such drama.

We’re incredibly excited to be launching our first hot climate Challenge. In November we will be heading to the Middle East for our first ‘Arabian Desert Skills’ Challenge; journey through the Arabian sands, jebels and wadis, while learning desert survival and navigation skills. The first phase of your experience will be based in the Empty Quarter and will focus on desert dunes and sand-based endeavours. The second phase will take place in Oman in different environments - sand dunes, water-filled wadis and rocky, mountainous Jebels. We can’t wait for this one and it’s exciting to be broadening our range of environments, climates and activities.

None of this would be possible without our incredible team of record breaking adventurers. A huge thank you to our Director of Expeditions Louis, Expeditions Manager Wendy and Head of Development Max for their hard work and dedication to making our clients feel like pioneers. 

Max Thorpe, Wendy Searle and Louis Rudd

Max Thorpe, Wendy Searle, Louis Rudd

We are committed to delivering new and exciting Challenges and can’t wait to get going in 2024.

Join us on a Shackleton Challenge and Discover What You Are Made Of. I can assure you, you will not regret it.