Polar Adventurer, Former SAS Soldier & Author
At 12 years old, waiting outside the headmaster’s office to be disciplined Louis spotted the Ladybird book of Scott of the Antarctic. His imagination was sparked. Four years later, motivated by the promise of adventure, Louis joined the Royal Marines as a Commando and swiftly rose through the ranks to Regimental Sergeant Major before commissioning as an Officer. He went on to pass selection for the SAS at the young age of 22 and spent 25 years in the Special Forces unit. As well as serving in Northern Ireland, The Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan he completed many tours in extreme cold weather environments, including inside the Arctic Circle which ignited his desire for Polar exploration and adventure.
Louis’ first trip to Antarctica was during the winter of 2011-12 when he trekked to the South Pole alongside his friend, the late polar explorer Henry Worsley. Following the original route of the Norwegian Roald Amundsen, this 67 day, 800-mile unsupported journey took them from the Bay of Whales, up the Axel Heiberg Glacier to the Geographic South Pole. Despite battling frostbite in temperatures of minus 40c and returning severely underweight the lure of the Antarctic remained irresistible to Louis.
In 2016 Louis planned and led a team of five Army Reservists on a 67 day, 1,100 mile traverse of Antarctica. The SPEAR17 Expedition started at Hercules Inlet, skied 700 miles unsupported to the South Pole then crossed the Titan Dome and descended the Shackleton Glacier before arriving on the Ross Ice Shelf. The expedition won multiple awards including the Millie for Inspiring Others and in 2018 Louis was awarded an MBE for his leadership on the journey.
In May 2018 Louis led a team of five civilians on a 570 km west to east traverse of the Greenland Ice Sheet. They were hit by a hurricane strength Piteraq storm and as one team member got lost in the storm, another became trapped inside a collapsed tent – he was buried beneath the snow and slowly running out of air. Unable to stand in such strong winds, Louis conducted a search on his hands and knees with a rope tied around his waist. He eventually found and rescued the trapped man who had just recorded a final message on his iPhone. In spite of these terrifying setbacks, under Louis’ incredible leadership the team completed the crossing in 27 days.
In November 2018 Louis caught the world’s attention as he undertook his Spirit of Endurance expedition. On 28th December 2018 Louis became the first Brit and second person in the world to cross Antarctica solo, unsupported and unassisted. Upon arrival at the Ross Ice Shelf, Louis also became the first person in history to cross the frozen continent twice.
What the audience can expect
Louis inspires and entertains audiences with his incredible stories of exploration, endurance and resilience. Antarctica is an ice-bound desert devoid of all forms of life. The endless empty ice-blue landscape can lead to a sense of all consuming isolation. When the wind drops there is a silence so pure that your heartbeat is the only human sound. And yet Louis has returned to the earth’s most isolated, desolate and hostile continent three times in the last eight years – when mentally and physically exhausted, Eleven More Steps became Louis’ abiding, unbreakable rule. No matter where he was or how bad the weather, when he reached the pre-planned finish point he would always stop then take another eleven steps.
He shares his unique insights on leadership and collaboration. Inspired by his friend and mentor Henry Worsley, Louis took everything he learned during that first trip to Antarctica and returned stronger and more prepared. Louis motivates audiences to access their untapped potential, drawing connections between the extreme challenges he has faced in the SAS and the Antarctic and the day-to-day pressures we all face in life and at work.
To find out what Louis Rudd could bring to your event or to make a booking, please contact Alice Saunders.