Man pulls sled on ice
Credit: Jonny Huntingdon/Sway PR

Fewer people have skied solo to the South Pole than have been in space. And no-one with a disability has ever attempted a solo, unsupported expedition to the South Pole.

Now there is as Jonny Huntington is seen here training to be the very first aiming to be the first disabled person to solo ski 911 kilometres of Antarctic tundra for 40 days.

He has just returned from Arctic Sweden on a 20- day trial trip for his upcoming challenge, dragging his food-packed sledge weighing (25 stone).

To mark his challenge, Jonny completed a mammoth ultra-marathon from Manchester to London on 30 October, raising money for The Armed Forces Para-Snowsport Team (AFPST), Adaptive Grand Slam (AGS) and Invictus Games Foundation charities and testing the resilience of his body by putting it through similar stresses he will feel on his expedition.

“This is a massive undertaking for an able-bodied person. Add my restricted movements, especially my lower leg, and it takes the challenge to a whole new level,” says Jonny Huntington.

Jonny joined the army in 2013, training at Sandhurst to become an officer. In June 2014, just eight weeks after commissioning into the British Army, Jonny was in the gym when he suffered a devastating stroke.

The neurological damage left Jonny paralysed down one side.

It took years of rehab before Jonny was able to fully walk again, and even then, he was left with restricted movement down his left side.

During his recovery Jonny became a member of the Armed Forces Para-Snowsport Team (AFPST), which fuelled his love of cross-country skiing.

This led to Jonny becoming one of the first athletes in a new GB Para Nordic ski team, where he competed from 2017 to 2020 at international level at World Cups in Lviv, Ukraine and Vuokatti, Finland, as well as the inaugural European Paralympic Committee Games in Poland in 2020.

Para classifications and his unique physical limitations eventually made it impossible to compete at the highest levels, however this experience laid the foundations for his plans to be the first disabled explorer to reach the South Pole.

“Through the expedition to the South Pole we are breaking boundaries within the disabled community and pushing the idea of human potential,” said Jonny.

“For me, the South Pole expedition is about challenging myself, about pushing myself further than I’ve ever pushed my body before.

“My hope is that this expedition will highlight that no challenge is insurmountable, whether someone is disabled or not.”

Jonny’s expedition is planned for November 2024, and is expected to take approximately 40 days on the ice.

During that time, he will be dragging all his equipment and food in a sled which will weigh in excess of 90kg.

Jonny adds; “I’m under no illusion; this is going to be tough. Just living in temperatures of minus 35 comes with its own challenges – let alone the epic journey I’ll be undertaking.

“The motivation that drives me to reach the Pole, and get home, is that I really want to show that no matter what life throws at you – with enough determination everyone can fulfil their own potential.”

Jonny was born in Cambridge, where he lived until he went to university at 18-years-old, and subsequently joined the military. He now lives in Kingsbridge, Devon.

To find out more about Jonny’s expedition see @jonnyhuntington on Instagram.

Jonny is proudly supported by Specialist Risk Group, Team Forces and ACRE Capital Real Estate and is currently seeking further partners for his ground breaking expedition.

Listen to our interview with Jonny here