Army officer chosen to retrace Shackleton steps

A travel- and adventure-hungry Irish Army lieutenant has been selected as one of just three people selected to retrace the steps of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton.

Army officer chosen to retrace Shackleton steps

Lieutenant Sinéad Hunt, from Dublin, will retrace the steps of Ernest Shackleton’s legendary voyage from Antarctica to South Georgia and subsequent trek across that island with Frank Worsley and Kerryman Tom Crean.

The Antarctic Heritage Trust Inspiring Explorers Expedition 2015 will provide an opportunity of a lifetime in October for three young people to participate in an attempt to repeat Shackleton’s crossing to mark the centenary of the journey.

The trip of a lifetime will involve flying to Port Stanley in the Falkands and then travelling aboard Vavilov to King Haakon Bay, South Georgia.

Ernest Shackleton
Ernest Shackleton

From there, the plan is for the expedition team to disembark and cross South Georgia to Stromness, on skis where possible, before rejoining the ship. After circumnavigating South Georgia, the ship will return to Ushuaia, Argentina.

The crossing will be a multi-day traverse of the island from South to North on skis across glaciated country and the crossing party will be self-sufficient for that time.

The success rate given for the crossing even now is just 60% due to the extreme weather conditions the trio will face.

Sineád departs for New Zealand on September 28 for two weeks training and the expedition will take place between October 17-31.

The eldest of three daughters, Sinéad grew up in North Co Dublin in a family with an appetite for travel and adventure.

Sinéad studied Mechanical Engineering at University College Dublin where she joined the UCD mountaineering club.

Lte Sinead Hunt pictured practising her endurance tests at Aunascaul Lake in County Kerry
Lte Sinead Hunt pictured practising her endurance tests at Aunascaul Lake in County Kerry

During her university years, she climbed all over Ireland and, from there, the Scottish Highlands, to learn winter climbing skills, and to the Alps, discovering skiing and Alpine mountaineering.

“I think it’s going to be a bit of a whirlwind trip. I will take it as a it goes,” she said.

Sinéad enlisted in the Irish Defence Forces like her father and grandfather before her, through the Officer Cadetship training programme.

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