The South Pole Energy Challenge (SPEC)

Rob and his son Barney will embark on the first-ever expedition to the South Pole powered solely by clean energy technologies. On November 15, 2017, they will start a 600-mile, eight-week journey on foot to the South Pole. Over this expedition, they will demonstrate and showcase cutting edge technologies robust enough to work in one of the harshest environments on earth. Using the expedition as a platform for engagement, the father and son team will work with sponsors to broadcast outreach campaigns to help drive change in the way we use energy.

View our sponsors, technology innovators, & partners

SPEC’s Out Reach Goals

To realize the ambitions of the 2016 United Nation’s Paris Agreement to hold global temperatures below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, we all need to reconsider how we utilize energy in our economies, our homes and even our own bodies. Through SPEC we aim to give companies, schools, and individuals the tools to make viable changes in the way they understand and use energy.


Measurable solutions include:

  • Install solar, wind, and/or geothermal infrastructure in home or business.
  • Modify lifestyle/ diet to reduce waste.
  • Support alternative transport technologies: hydrogen, electric, or hybrid.
  • Demand green energy from utilities.
  • Invest in clean energy.
  • Engage in local and national energy policy.
  • Advance carbon offsetting, reduction, and cleanup technologies.
2041’s mission is to inspire governments, educators, businesses, investors, and individuals to take concrete and measurable actions to shift the way they think about, legislate and use energy. Learn more about how to get involved with the South Pole Energy Challenge by emailing us below.
Follow the Story

Day 2 on this long Antarctica journey and we are slowly….very slowly settling into our daily routine. We covered 6km today and it was tough. The weather Gods were not as favorable as yesterday and we awoke to overcast skies and temperatures warming up to......

Today was something special. We loaded our sleds and marched onto the glacier for the first time, as a team. It was a gripping reality to feel the weight on our bodies, the harness digging into our skin. Being next to Kyle, Martin, and Papa......

The past two days have been a full attack. From finalizing our food into 60 separate bundles, packing our sleds, and testing as much tech as possible, time seems to be slipping past very quickly. Twenty-four hour daylight definitely helps to confuse the linear perspective......

We embrace the last moments of darkness before the sun erupts from the “land of fire” to the East.   Our dear friend Alejo, bids us farewell between street dogs, and blooming lupins. Others from around the world, share excitement as we embark onto the......

Bringing together the technology to launch the first polar expedition to survive off renewable energy has been a monumental task. After testing the tech in December 2016 at Union Glacier, Antarctica- the equipment has been modified and readied for the mammoth 600-mile journey ahead.  ......

Getting ready to ski 60 days to the South Pole has been a compounded journey over the past few years. Whilst managing the logistics, outreach, and sponsorship surrounding the venture has taken up most of the team’s time- training mind and body has been just......

Track the Expedition in Antarctica

Track the SPEC team as they ski 600 miles on the first-ever expedition to the South Pole powered solely by clean energy technologies.

SPEC Tracking provided by

the Team of Four

Robert Swan


Robert Swan is the first person to have walked to both the North and South Poles. His leadership and determination made his 900 mile journey to the South Pole, the longest unassisted march in history. He was awarded the Polar Medal by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and is a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Youth.

Robert is a polar explorer, a leader in energy innovation and founder of the 2041 Foundation. This story of unbelievable spirit will take you on a journey of inspiration, courage and humility. Robert committed to his dream at the age of 11, achieved it with a team after 22 years and is now, on a 50 year mission to help preserve Antarctica.


Barney Swan


Barney Swan was born in the United Kingdom, raised in tropical Far North Australia, and now lives and works in California. With degrees in Business and Multimedia, Barney co-directs 2041’s expeditions and ventures. Over the last 5 years, he has applied and trained skills in outdoor leadership, risk management, technical sailing, and project management.

He is currently preparing to walk 600 miles to the South Pole on renewable energy supplied by Shell, ZeroMass, Checkerspot, and Siemens. Using this journey as a platform for engagement, he will be working with sponsors, and partners to empower audiences with solutions, dialogues, and measurable actions plans surrounding sustainable development.


Kyle O'donoghue


Storyteller and adventurer with 15 years of experience working in harsh and remote locations. With a passion for long journeys, Kyle has completed a first kayak descent of the Rio Maranon in Peru, a 2000km journey as well as a 65-day skiing expedition to northern Canada’s Ellesmere Island.

Since 2005 he has been a member of 2041’s Inspire Antarctic Expeditions and in 2008 was part of a team which worked to get Robert Swan’s Education Bases up and running. Having filmed on all seven continents with a focus on environmental and social issues he is aware of how fragile a line we are walking in our use of the planet’s resources. When not filming he runs a remote mountain Lodge in Norway with his wife Marthe.


Martin Barnett


Originally from North Wales, Martin now lives in Colorado with his wife, Tori, and 3-month-year-old Elliot. Over the past 16 years, Martin has led expeditions all over the world, including to the top of the highest mountains on all 7 continents.

When home, he is usually found rock or ice climbing at weekends and I also enjoy mountain biking. He currently teaches courses in rope Access, Tower Climbing/Fall Protection, PPE and several other types of rescue techniques. During his time in the USA, he has volunteered as a firefighter for 3 years and spent the last 4 years volunteering in SAR Alpine Rescue Team. Safety is very important to Martin and he has a passion for protecting the landscapes he continues to share and explore.

IAE/ClimateForce: Antarctica 2018

Feb 27 – Mar 12


Upon the completion of a successful SPEC you’re invited to join our team, on this special voyage, called IAE/ClimateForce: Antarctica 2018 (IAE/CFA18), which equips leaders with resources and actionable solutions to become a part of a global force of change.

Apply Now

SPEC Sponsors