Ed Parker, the expedition director of the Virgin Money South Pole Allied Challenge, revealed Saturday that he’d made the decision to call off the competition among three teams to reach the pole after five days. “The reason for this is entirely simple — safety, which remains the core principal of our expeditions,” Parker said in a statement. It wasn’t bad weather that led to the decision, and Parker even said that “all three teams were progressing well” over the first five days. Rather, it was the fact that the mission — especially as a competition — was putting undue strain on the participants. “It was becoming evident that there was a higher degree of stress imposed on the team members, due to unprecedented terrain on the plateau,” said Parker, a former British soldier who co-founded Walking With The Wounded in 2010. Prince Harry — himself a member of Britain’s armed forces, having served in Afghanistan and elsewhere — has had a long association with this charity. In several ways, he’s been preparing for this latest mission for a long time. That includes taking part in a Walking With The Wounded expedition to the North Pole — even plunging into the Arctic Ocean’s freezing waters — in 2011 before withdrawing to attend his brother William’s wedding. More recently, he traveled to Iceland for training and even spent 24 hours in an industrial freezer in preparation for the South Pole race. Yet, while Harry may be the only royal in Antarctica, he’s hardly the only celebrity. Swedish actor and “True Blood” star Alexander Skarsgard is an honorary member of the U.S.
Prince Harry on Afghan mission: ‘Take a life to save a life’
James John. Harry plays video games on November 03, 2012. Harry enjoys a break playing video games with Capt. Simon Beattie, left, on November 3, 2012. An Apache helicopter, returning from a mission, lands at Camp Bastion as Harry watches on November 3, 2012. Harry services an Apache helicopter on October 31, 2012. Harry inspects an Apache helicopter on October 30, 2012. Harry performs a preflight check on an Apache helicopter on January 11. Harry climbs on board an Apache helicopter as part of a preflight check on December 12, 2012. Harry performs a preflight check from inside the cockpit of an Apache helicopter on December 12, 2012. Harry wears a Santa hat on December 12, 2012.