Event Detail


21st Annual Dinner on The Greatest Escape Centenary Dinner: the Sir Ernest Shackleton Epic

Guests of Honour: Stephen Venables, OBE and Tim Jarvis, AM
Friday, 17 Jun 2016
Drinks Reception: 6.30 pm | Dinner and Lectures: 7.30 pm
The Hong Kong Football Club

The Royal Geographical Society is delighted to be welcoming two legendary explorers, Stephen Venables and Tim Jarvis, who are appearing on the same stage for the first time globally, to speak as Guests of Honour at “The Greatest Escape Centenary Dinner: the Sir Ernest Shackleton Epic”.

This dinner marks the Centenary of what is widely regarded as the greatest escape of all time, from the Endurance Expedition, as part of the global Centenary celebrations of the escape.

Messrs Jarvis and Venables were the first to retrace Sir Ernest Shackleton's celebrated escape.  In 1916, following the crushing of the ship Endurance by pack ice,  the crew of 28 survived for  year on the Antarctic ice, followed by Shackleton's legendary 800-mile voyage across the treacherous Southern Ocean in a 23 ft open boat, without a map, to South Georgia.  He then mountaineered without equipment across the unclimbed, uncharted mountains of South Georgia to get help for the crew of the stranded expedition. More exciting details of the great lengths our two speakers went to in order to recreate Shackleton's legacy are going to be recounted during the evening.

The Speakers

In 1988, Stephen Venables reached the summit of Mount Everest alone and without the use of oxygen, by pioneering a new route up the gigantic Kangshung Face from Tibet, one the greatest feats of mountaineering in history.  In 2000, he was chosen with Conrad Anker and Reinhold Messner, as the world’s three greatest active mountaineers, to star in the film Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure, which played worldwide.  The team climbed across the mountains of South Georgia using the same equipment as Sir Ernest Shackleton’s epic 1916 escape from Antarctica.

Following over 20 years as an expeditioner, including record-breaking expeditions to the South and North Poles, during 2013 Tim Jarvis mounted his most ambitious expedition, to be the first to retrace, using entirely original equipment, Shackleton’s sea escape.  He sailed a replica of Sir Ernest’s boat 1,500 kilometres across the Southern Ocean from Elephant Island to South Georgia and then climbed across the mountains using the same equipment as Shackleton.

The Evening & Bookings

The evening comprises a complimentary drinks reception and a three-course banquet dinner with wine.   In view of the popularity of this dinner, together with the unique presence of two celebrated Guests of Honour, priority is being given to RGS-HK Members and their guests.   The Annual Dinner has sold out in each of the last 10 years, so early booking is strongly advised.

For this event, there is pre-booked individual seating available, or you may arrange a group at a table, or book a table of 12 people. Tickets are priced at HK$980 each for RGS Members and HK$1,180 each for guests, who receive complimentary membership of the RGS-HK until 31 March 2017.

Please kindly RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. There is a choice of beef, pan-fried sea bass or vegetarian for your main course.

Please note that any surplus from this Royal Geographical Society - Hong Kong dinner is used to subsidise and make possible our educational and charitable activities.  This includes our programme of more than 60 lectures throughout the year, for the benefit of all Members and their guests.  In addition, the Society runs an extensive scholarship programme for students and a major Schools Outreach Programme.  Your support for this is much appreciated.                           

           The Original Expedition

During 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton had embarked on the most ambitious polar expedition of all time, the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, a bid to cross Antarctica. His ship, the Endurance, was trapped and crushed by pack ice, leaving Shackleton and his crew eking out an existence on the pack ice. The crew of the Endurance, numbering 28 men in 3 small wooden lifeboats, then drifted in the roughest ocean in the world, paddling and sailing for several harrowing days to reach Elephant Island, a bleak and remote island.  With the long dark winter looming, and his men half-starved and desperate, Sir Ernest realised he would have to go for help.  

Shackleton and five men left Elephant Island in April 1916 on an 800-mile voyage across the treacherous Southern Ocean in the boat James Caird.  For 17 days they battled constant gales, terrible cold and mountainous seas in the leaking 23 ft wooden boat, managing to land on the remote island of South Georgia.  Shackleton and two of the crew then climbed over the precipitous, heavily glaciated mountains of South Georgia to reach the refuge of the whaling station at Stromness on the other side.   Ultimately, Shackleton was able to rescue all the crew members who had been left stranded on Elephant Island, an epic triumph of endurance and leadership.


The Royal Geographical Society - Hong Kong wishes to express its thanks to Silversea Cruises for its generous support as sponsor of this Annual Dinner.

The Royal Geographical Society - Hong Kong also thanks Cathay Pacific, Freshfields and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for their generous assistance.

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