NEWPORT adventurer Richard Parks’ latest expedition to the South Pole hangs in the balance because his equipment is lost in transit.
The former Newport Gwent Dragons rugby player left the UK for Punta Arenas in Chile on December 7.
But while he made the 26-hour journey in one piece, his freight containing vital equipment, including a sled he will use to drag all he needs for the solo journey across Antarctica, did not.
After a day of frantic calls, which led him to believe it was in Miami, it was finally located in London.
He now has two options - to borrow equipment or get more equipment sent and hope it arrives before December 17 - the last date, for safety reasons, he can fly to the Union Glacier to start his 745-mile journey.
But he is not writing it off just yet and is using the extra time map the route, checking for way points and crevasses.
He told fans on his online blog: "I have to admit that I was freaked out a bit yesterday and pretty stressed. After a year in the planning and re-investing everything I have earned back in to this expedition, to be here now and having to contemplate cancelling was seriously stressful."
If it goes ahead Mr Parks, 35, will have to survive in some of the world's most hostile conditions on his own with no food drops or external support.
He hopes to complete the journey within 40 days.
He has visited the region once before during his world-first 737 challenge in 2011 in his bid to raise £1 million for Marie Curie Cancer Care.
On its completion the former flanker became the first man to climb the highest mountains on the world’s seven continents, as well as the North Pole, South Pole and Everest in just seven months. "This setback, although it’s not ideal is not going to derail my psychology or the expedition. I can still focus on what I can control and give myself the best chance of success."