Following in the footsteps of giants

One hundred years after Sir Ernest Shackleton’s fateful Antarctic expedition, his great-grandson returned to Antarctica with the help of Hyundai and a specially adapted Santa Fe 4x4.

Discover the greatest story of survival in the history of exploration, retraced in a remarkable adventure that began in December 2016.


There is no greater
destination than a dream

Shackleton’s story

Shackleton set sail on his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition on the 8th August 1914 – a brave attempt to voyage from sea to sea across Antarctica via the pole. However in a cruel twist of fate, his ship Endurance became stuck in pack ice and was slowly crushed.

The crew escaped by camping on the sea ice while the ship slowly disintegrated before Shackleton led them in a fleet of lifeboats to Elephant island. From there he took five of his crew on a death-defying 720 mile trip in a tiny lifeboat – James Caird – to South Georgia.

After an equally perilous 32 mile land crossing over mountainous terrain, Shackleton reached a whaling station and raised the alarm. On 30 August 1916 – over a year and a half after his ship first became stuck – his remaining men were rescued from the island.

A century on, this story of courage and determination against seemingly insurmountable odds still resonates. This is why Shackleton’s great grandson, Patrick Bergel, agreed to retrace part of his journey in a Santa Fe.

above all else

Excerpts from Patrick’s Diary

Despite being told that a journey across the continent in a road-going vehicle could not be done, in December 2016 Shackleton’s great-grandson, Patrick Bergel, flew out from Chile with a Santa Fe, a support crew and a film crew.

The expedition would take the team 30 days, covering almost 5,800 kilometres of perilous crevasse fields, Antarctic desert and wind-swept sastrugi formations.

What began as an homage to his great-grandfather became a feat in its own right. By pushing the limits of endurance, Patrick did more than follow in Shackleton’s footsteps—he followed his example.

union glacier
thiels corner
south pole
ross ice shelf
scott base

Union Glacier

December 4th

Farewell to Patagonia.

We fly out from Chile on board an Ilysuhin 76, a former Soviet troop carrier, heading to Union Glacier. The Santa Fe is strapped down in the rear cargo area. A mix of trepidation and excitement: we are off to Antarctica - the coldest, driest, least inhabited place on Earth, attempting to cross 5800km of snow and ice.

The Ilyushin lands on a runway made of blue ice, and we unload car and fuel.

Thiels Corner

10 December

Picking through fields of low sastrugi, ice sculpted by the wind into spectacular formations from two to ten feet high. A succession of endless hills lope slowly across our path: our little team is reduced to insect scale by this immense space.

Driving across this terrain requires patience and a good feel for the shape of each obstacle: you end up driving with your whole body, not just your hands, as you hop over and around little ice crags.

We proceed slowly.

South Pole

11 December

We reach the South Pole.

This is where Shackleton had set out for in 1901-4, in 1907-9, and finally in 1914-17.

Three times he tried to get to this place, three times he failed. A hundred years later, somehow I am fortunate enough to be the first in the family to stand at this point. It’s a moment of connection - a strong feeling of the strength of the past, of the magnitude of his often brutally challenging struggles to get here. And perhaps above all, a feeling of pure elation in standing here at the end of the Earth, all lines converging.

Ross Ice Shelf

17 December

As usual, before setting camp we make a large loop in the snow, our tyre-tracks marking out a safe area in which to pitch tents, and also discourage any of the team from absent- mindedly wandering off into crevasse fields.

Antarctica is a place of deep and abiding silence. Often, when the engines are not running there is nothing except the wind. To hear nothing at all, to allow oneself to concentrate on pure emptiness is a pleasure.

Scott Base

21 December

Scott Base. Before starting the long journey back, I meet some of the Conservators from New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust (NZAHT). I am shown a pair of Norwegian-made wooden skis, most likely a part of Shackleton's 1916 expedition equipment. The primitive leather bindings are still intact. What would it have been like to attempt to cross the continent on these, dragging tents and food behind you, into the unmapped?

Union Glacier

31 December - 1 January

New Years Eve at Union Glacier. The camp is now abuzz with celebration. 'Club Katabatic' is a makeshift circular cave in the side of the snow, shored up igloo-style with blocks of ice.

Everyone at camp is jammed inside, wishing one another a Happy New Year. There is dancing under 20 feet of ice. It's a pleasingly surreal venue in which to celebrate.

I turn in at 2am, but am unable to sleep.

I'm going to miss this place.

Hyundai shackleton Hyundai shackleton

The Santa Fe Endurance

To celebrate our modified Santa Fe’s incredible Antarctic journey, we have released the Santa Fe Endurance Edition.

With the only difference between the two cars being forty inch tyres and beefed up suspension, in every other way the Santa Fe Endurance Edition has proved its excellence whatever the weather conditions.

Hyundai Santa Fe

Santa FE Endurance Edition
2.2 crdi 4WD 7 Seat AUTOMATIC

from £38,995

View model specs