PK Podcast 034: Lou Rudd On The Motivation To Traverse Antarctica Solo, Unsupported and Unaided

PK Podcast 034: Lou Rudd On The Motivation To Traverse Antarctica Solo, Unsupported and Unaided

In this episode I am joined by Louis Rudd, MBE. This interview with Lou was recorded in late October 2018, shortly before he departed for Chile and then onto Antarctica to attempt a solo, unsupported and unaided crossing of the Antarctic Continent via the South Pole. This means simply man-hauling everything he needs for the trip, accepting no assistance and not using any aids such as kites to pull him along. It’ll be entirely under his own steam. This is a challenge no-one has previously successfully completed.

If you’ve been a long time listener or if you’ve recently caught up with earlier episode of The Paul Kirtley Podcast, you will know that Lou guested on Episode 12.

This was during the period Lou was preparing himself and his SPEAR17 team of Army reserves for an expedition to the South Pole. That trip – for reasons we discuss in the interview – rather than stopping at the pole, turned into a full traverse of Antarctica. I haven’t properly caught up with Lou since then so we had a lot to cover in this interview.

Lou, currently 49, has been in the British military since he was 16 years old. He is a qualified military ski instructor and an Arctic Warfare instructor and before leading the SPEAR17 Antarctic expedition, Lou had previously undertaken a trip to the South pole with his friend Henry Worsley, as part of the Scott Amundsen Centenary Race. In 2012, Lou and Henry completed this 800-mile unsupported journey, following the original route of Roald Amundsen from the Bay of Whales to the South Pole.

Man pulling pulk in polar conditions
Lou Rudd is undertaking his biggest polar challenge yet. Photo: Rene Koster.

I’m sure many of you will be glad Lou is back on this podcast with me. I’ve had a good number of requests since Episode 12 to have Lou back on for an update. This seems like an opportune moment but I was luck to catch Lou, only days before he departed for Antarctica for a planned two and half months.

In the following conversation I talk with Lou about the previous Antarctic crossing with the SPEAR17 team of Army reserves, his more recent crossing of Greenland as well as his preparation for his solo crossing of Antarctica, which is his biggest polar challenge yet.

Our conversation forms Episode 34 of the Paul Kirtley Podcast…

How To Listen To This Podcast

You can listen to this podcast here on my website by using the player above. Just press the play button.

You can download the podcast episode .mp3 file by right-clicking on the download link to save the .mp3 file down to your local machine/device.

You can also subscribe on iTunes and on Stitcher, on Player FM or via my podcast-only RSS feed.

Links Mentioned In This Podcast





Paratrooper with MBE
In 2018 Lou received an MBE. Photo courtesy of Lou Rudd.

Thanks For Listening!

Thanks for joining Lou and me on this podcast. If you have any comments about this episode, please leave them in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons at the top of this page. Thanks!

And Finally…

Finally don’t forget to leave an honest review & rating on iTunes or on Stitcher.

Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of this podcast and I read each and every one of them.

Related Material On Paul Kirtley’s Blog

PK Podcast 012: Lou Rudd On Unsupported Polar Journeys and Retracing Amundsen’s Route To The South Pole

PK Podcast 033: Kevin Brownlee on Indigenous Archaeology and Highlighting Native Heritage


8 thoughts on “PK Podcast 034: Lou Rudd On The Motivation To Traverse Antarctica Solo, Unsupported and Unaided

  1. Very good podcast just the ticket for a long drive south today

  2. What an inspirational, extraordinary and humble chap, great podcast.

  3. First listen to one of these, enjoyed listening with a glass of homemade wine after two days spent harvesting our rabbits for our winter meat, many thanks and will certainly make time to listen in future.

    1. Hi Trev, thanks for stopping by to leave a comment. I’m glad you’ve delved into your first PK Podcast and you enjoyed it. I hope you enjoy future listens too. Thanks and cheers! Paul

  4. Its wonderful that you were able to record this interview with such an accomplished guest, so close to his embarking on what will be a monumental journey.

    Earlier this year I happened to read a long and vivid article of Henry Worsley’s life and travails in the antarctic by David Grann in the New Yorker magazine. The British have a real talent for cool understatement in conversation, it seems, so as grueling as Mr. Rudd’s transantarctic expeditions may be made to seem by your interview, to see laid plain in print an account of every torturous obstacle to be found on an undertaking of this magnitude is another thing entirely. It can be read, freely at new yorker dot com. And here: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/02/12/the-white-darkness
    Hopefully you or someone else will enjoy this.

    1. Hi Roy, thanks for your comments and I appreciate you sharing the link to the New Yorker article.

      Warm regards,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.