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The Last Great First

Former Scouts Prepare to Complete First Full Unsupported Ski Crossing of Antarctica

In a world first, polar explorers Dr Gareth Andrews and Dr Richard Stephenson are preparing to embark on a 110 day, 2600km unsupported full coast to coast ski crossing of Antarctica, almost exactly 100 years after the passing of the great Sir Ernest Shackleton. Scouts Australia are thrilled to be a Community Partner, supporting these former Scouts.


In one of the most audacious polar expeditions ever undertaken, polar explorers Dr Gareth Andrews and Dr Richard Stephenson will attempt to cross the entire continental mass of Antarctica, coast to coast, including it’s permanent ice shelves, unsupported, using manpower alone. This stands as one of the last great firsts of polar exploration and if successful, will go down in the annals of polar history and human endeavour.


​Scouts Australia have partnered with The Last Great First Expedition as a Community Partner, giving our movement a significant opportunity to be associated with a project of human endurance and worldwide significance. The Last Great First is  already attracting international media exposure, and our association as Community Partners will benefit with substantial global exposure for the next two to three years.

The benefits for Scouting in this partnership are immense. As a Community Partner, we are grateful for the free association with this amazing feat which extends to:

  • Our new logo and brand featured on expedition equipment and clothing
  • Be endorsed by two amazing ambassadors
  • Participate in social media promotions
  • Embed the expedition in to the youth program
  • Follow with first-hand experience the expedition
  • Restrictions pending, involve youth members in the Australian Alpine training program.
The Last Great First Penguin Woggle

Penguin Naming Competition

Help us name the penguin woggle supporting The Last Great First! The winner of the chosen name will receive a $50 Snowgum voucher. Entries close 15th October 2021.

The Adventurers

Dr Gareth Andrews (UK/AUS) and Dr Richard Stephenson (UK/NZ), both former Scouts, will attempt this incredible journey which is a feat of endurance and exploration at the edge of what is humanly possible. The Doctors will ski 2,600km in 110 days whilst pulling a 200kg sled each. It will be the ultimate demonstration of human resilience, dedication, focus whilst maintaining a steady pace through harsh and extremely cold conditions fuelled by teamwork, commitment, sheer willpower and passion. The Doctors have been exploring the polar regions together for over 10 years and have developed into a close-knit unit and world-class expedition team. When they are free from their medical commitments, they specialise in long distance endurance polar expeditions.

Gareth is back in Sydney with his young family after spending the last 12 months on the COVID frontline in Wales. He is a Consultant Anaesthetist at St Vincent’s Hospital and the new Northern Beaches Hospital, and is back on the COVID frontline. Meanwhile, Dr Richard Stephenson has been working as a Specialist Emergency Physician, performing an integral role in Dunedin Hospital’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout all of this significant work on the frontline, both adventurers have maintained a strict training and dieting routine.

The Last Great First Explorers on Ice
Over the coming months you will see lots of ways in which you can get involved with this expedition – watch this space!

2600km for the heroes of today and youth of tomorrow.

The Last Great First Branding