Teenage polar explorer Parker Liautaud is packing his bags this week before setting off for the start of the Willis Resilience Expedition, a 40 day expedition to collect scientific data, pilot a new model of weather station and attempt a speed record from the Antarctic Coast to the South Pole. Parker, a sophomore at Yale University will be packing his pulk (the sledge he will use to take all of his expedition kit). Weighing in at around 80kg, Parker’s kit will keep him alive in the world’s most inhospitable continent.
A polar expedition on this scale means planning for every eventuality, so everything Parker takes with him is geared towards survival and performance. Among other things, Parker will pack polarized goggles to protect him from snow blindness and an insulated jacket which has been tested to keep him warm and dry in temperatures as low as -60ºC. Parker’s pulk will carry everything he will need during his 22 day trek to the South Pole, including all his food, tent and supplies plus essentials such as a crevasse rescue kit containing carabiners, slings, ice-screws, pulleys and ropes.
At just 19 years old Parker will trek 640km from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and attempt to set a new world record. The invaluable scientific research that he will undertake before he aims to set this record will be aimed at exploring the impact of climate change by uncovering new scientific data and enhancing our understanding of our changing world.
Backed by leading insurance, reinsurance and risk managers, Willis, the expedition is deeply entwined with Willis’ core business values; offering risk management solutions and strategies to help their clients overcome challenges and build resilience for a risky world. To allow people to follow Parker’s remarkable journey to the South Pole and learn more about the importance of the data collected during the expedition, The Willis Resilience Expedition website – www.willisresilience.com – invites people to not only learn more but to feel part of the journey as it unfolds. The expedition is supported by the Ice Broker, a 2.6 tonne, custom built truck – in essence, a science-gathering and communications center on wheels – which will provide logistical support to the scientific phase of the expedition as well as live streaming video and data to a global audience throughout. The video footage will be transmitted via Iridium Pilot systems and a remote camera rig built into the truck.
“It feels surreal that the expedition is about to begin. After two years of careful planning and preparation we are finally ready to start our journey to the South Pole. We are not only aiming to set a new world record, but more importantly we will be collecting data that will contribute to understanding our changing world. I am excited about taking on the challenge that lies ahead and I know that with the support team I have around me this expedition will be a huge success. Although I will have no contact with the incredible Antarctic truck ‘Ice Broker’ while attempting the ski record, it will be tracking my every move and allowing you to follow our journey with a live stream via www.willisresilience.com.”
Parker Liautaud, Willis Resilience Expedition Leader
As one of the world’s leading risk advisers and insurance and reinsurance brokers, Willis is supporting this inspirational journey to test the limits of human endurance and resilience in the harshest of environments and to promote greater understanding of our changing climate and the risks associated with it.
Notes to Media
About Willis: Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global risk adviser, insurance and reinsurance broker. With roots dating to 1828, Willis operates today on every continent with more than 17,000 employees in over 400 offices. Willis offers its clients superior expertise, teamwork, innovation and market-leading products and professional services in risk management and transfer. Our experts rank among the world’s leading authorities on analytics, modelling and mitigation strategies at the intersection of global commerce and extreme events. Find more information at our website, www.willis.com, our leadership journal, Resilience, or our up-to-the-minute blog on breaking news, WillisWire. Across geographies, industries and specialisms, Willis provides its local and multinational clients with resilience for a risky world.
An unsupported expedition: The Willis Resilience Expedition will have a vehicle tracking the explorers however, the team in the truck will provide no support to Parker along the way. The vehicle is tracking the team to provide round the clock footage and imagery along the way and will not carry any equipment for Parker with them.