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With their boat destroyed in the ice, Sir Ernest Shackleton's crew had become locked in a struggle for survival. One hundred years later, the Jaeger team get out their crampons and ice picks to recreate that perilous frozen trek across the Antarctic peninsula

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The men of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition watched their ship sink from a safe distance. "It was a sickening sensation," Frank Wild, Shackleton's second-in-command, wrote in his diary. "The decks breaking up, the beams bending and snapping with a noise of heavy gunfire." The Endurance was gone: her twisted wooden carcass slipping to a deep, watery grave off the Antarctic Peninsula. Shackleton and his men were now completely alone. Their ambitious plan to cross the Antarctic on foot had become a desperate mission to stay alive.

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Their leader - whom they universally referred to as "Boss" - knew that their best chance of survival was to make it off the treacherous sea ice and onto proper land. The bad news was that the closest solid ground was the Antarctic Peninsula itself, an incredibly dangerous and lengthy trek to the west. In the spirit of Shackleton, we don our own boots and crampons today, pull on multiple layers of clothing (including comfy Jaeger thermals, naturally) and set off for a trek on that selfsame Peninsula. Fittingly, our location is the spectacular Wilhelmina Bay - the

place Shackleton had initially planned to strike out towards.

Perhaps ambitiously, we join an official climbing group, led by experienced mountaineering instructor and Quark Expeditions guide Jean Cane. Jean shows us how to rope ourselves together and swing an ice axe like a professional, before we set off under ominously inky Antarctic skies. It is an experience that catapults our already healthy respect for Shackleton up into the stratosphere. The clouds open, the wind howls, snow starts to fall - and we manage to climb just 200 metres in two hours.

We achieve the little peak we're aiming for - and unfurl our Jaeger flag as a respectful nod to the Boss himself - but our efforts are a pittance compared to those of Shackleton and his men. To put it into context, we're wearing all of the latest 21st Century kit - from our goggles, gloves and helmets to state-of-the-art expedition parkas. Shackleton and his men had the best kit available to them at the time - their heavy Jaeger jumpers and wool balaclavas were about to, literally, prove lifesavers - but science had 100 years of catching up to do.

After folding up our flag, we beat a hasty retreat via inflatable Zodiac dinghy to the warmth of our ship, the Ocean Diamond. Two hours on the ice was more than enough - but the men of the Endurance had months and months of hardship out there still to endure. The odds were monumentally stacked against them, but they did have one big thing in their favour. They had the Boss.

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