“Shot my bolt”

On Saturday, Alastair Worsley died after being evacuated from Antarctica. He was 30 miles from completing his expedition of skiing across Antarctica in an unsupported expedition.

Worsley, 55, called his support team from his tent on Friday to tell him he was exhausted and could not complete his goal. As he said, he had “shot my bolt.” That was reference to Ernest Shackleton and how he described his exhaustion at the end of his South Pole attempt.

Worsley was also very likely out of food at the time of his call. Because of the nature of his goal, to be the first person to cross Antarctica without support (like food and supply drops), he had carried all his food for the 80-day mission since he started in November.

Although I cannot confirm this, I would assume that his team was unaware of how desperate his situation was when they picked him up off the ice and flew him to medical care in Punta Arenas, Chile. I also doubt whether Worsley knew how seriously his illness was.

Worsley ultimately died of peritonitis, an infection in the lining of the abdominal wall. While its effects were likely exascerbated by his extreme exhaustion, it may have been a condition that was unavoidable, and certainly, unpredictable.

To learn more about Worsley, here are some articles:

The New York Times


The Independent

The Telegraph

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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