Prince Harry joining wounded soldiers for South Pole trek

Prince Harry speaks during the launch for Walking with the Wounded South Pole Allied challenge at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park on April 19, 2013, in London. Getty Images

Prince Harry will join a team of wounded servicemen and women this weekend as they trek to the South Pole for the Walking with the Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge.

Kensington Palace confirmed details of the trip Wednesday. The challenge is being taken on by three seven-man teams -- each with four wounded team members -- hailing from the United Kingdom, Commonwealth and the United States.

Harry, 29, who is patron of Walking with the Wounded, will be participating with the British team. Actor Alexander Skarsgard ("True Blood") is taking part with the Americans, and Dominic West of "The Wire" is going with the Commonwealth team.

Each team is representing and raising funds for military charities from their respective nations as they race to the South Pole -- Soldier On (Canada), Soldier On (Australia), Soldiers to Summit (U.S.) and Walking with the Wounded (U.K.).

Teams will depart London for Cape Town, South Africa, on Sunday, Nov. 17. From there, they'll head to Novolazarevskaya Station in Antarctica on Nov. 19, where they will spend a few days adjusting to the Antarctic temperatures. Once acclimated, they will fly to 87 degrees south, where they will spend further time acclimatizing to the altitude.

The challenge itself begins from 87 degrees south on Nov. 30, with teams hoping to reach the geographic South Pole by Dec. 16, the palace said.

The teams of service personnel, all of whom have physical or cognitive injuries, will race 208 miles (335 kilometers) across the Antarctic Plateau, where temperatures could be as low as 49 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (-57 Celsius) with winds up to 50 mph (80 kph). They're expected to travel about 10 miles (15-20 kilometers) per day, pulling heavy packs with them.

The distance will be divided into managed stages and checkpoints, and each team will have an experienced polar guide and nominated mentor with them. Due to the hostile conditions and the nature of the injuries involved, the expedition teams will be followed by a support team, who will be on hand in case of emergencies.

This isn't the first time Harry has taken part in a Walking with the Wounded trek -- he went to the North Pole with the organization in 2011 and was patron of its Everest Expedition in 2012.

  • Jessica Derschowitz

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