An Expedition To Understand Our Changing World

On December 3, 2013 the Willis Resilience Expedition departs from the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica with two goals: to test the limits of resilience in the face of adversity and to help understand our changing world.

Nineteen year old Parker Liautaud will trek 640 kilometres from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and attempt to set a new world record. During the Expedition Parker and his team will conduct invaluable scientific research aimed at exploring the impact of climate change. By uncovering new scientific data and enhancing our understanding of a changing world the Expedition is deeply entwined with Willis’ core business, which is to offer risk management solutions and strategies to help clients overcome challenges and build resilience for a risky world.

The Willis Resilience Expedition is 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 and the team will fly in to Union Glacier, spending 5 days provisioning the custom-built Willis truck before departing for their 1900 mile journey to Leverett Glacier.

Along the route, Parker will complete a program of scientific study and deploy an innovative, lightweight weather station, the ColdFacts-3000BX, to measure and transmit climate data.

The expedition team will stop regularly to collect snow samples and ‘overnight’ in tents. In the 24 hour daylight of Antarctica, they will experience temperatures up to -40 degrees centigrade and one of the most hostile environments on earth.

Reaching Leverett Glacier, Parker and teammate Doug Stoup will change to skis in an attempt to set a new ‘Coast to Pole’ speed record. They hope to cover the 397 miles (640km), covering the distance in 22 days. In achieving the distance, Parker will also become the youngest male to ski from the coast to the South Pole.

Parker and Doug will take a different route to many coast-to-pole expeditions and therefore is not an attempt to break an existing record. It should be noted that the Willis Resilience Expedition comes two years after Christian Eide’s hugely impressive World Record of skiing unsupported, solo and fully unassisted from coast to Pole, over a longer distance than Parker will attempt, in 24 days, 1 hour and 13 minutes, averaging 46.98km per day.

Parker and Doug must average around 18 miles (30km) a day to hit their 22 day target. They will start off towing an 82kg pulk each, laden with equipment and supplies. It will be an unsupported attempt as far as they will not receive any assistance from the Willis truck following them.

The Willis truck, laden with satellite communications equipment, will be filming the attempt live for the Willis Resilience television channel. Audiences around the world will be able to track Parker’s progress, view biometric data and watch a daily expedition show live at

To start with, they must traverse the Trans-Antarctic Mountains which, at their highest point, reach 4,528m (14,855ft). Most days will require twelve hours travelling and four hours to make and break camp. Specially sealed meals provide the requirement of 6,000 calories each per day.

Gathering Samples

The Willis Resilience Expedition is an inspirational journey that tests the limits of human endurance in the harshest environment on earth. It sets out to enhance awareness of climate change and contribute in a meaningful way to environmental science.

Through Parker’s endeavors, and those of the team, we hope to better understand our changing world.