British adventurer Felicity Aston completed her solo traverse of Antarctica yesterday, becoming the first person to accomplish that feat completely alone and under her own power. The journey took 59 days, and covered more than 1084 miles across the frozen continent.
We first told you about Felicity’s adventure back in November when she was still preparing to start the expedition, which began on the Ross Ice Shelf. Traveling on skis, and pulling a heavy sled filled with gear and supplies behind her, Aston first made her way across the Leverett Glacier and Transantarctic Mountain Range, arriving at the South Pole just a few days before Christmas. That stage of the journey covered 248 miles, and while 90ºS is traditionally the finish line for most polar explorers, for Felicity it wasn’t even the halfway point yet.
Over the course of the next few weeks, she battled a combination of high winds, bitterly cold temperatures, and blowing snow to make her way back to the coast. That leg of the journey covered another 835 miles, culminating with her arrival at Hercules Inlet yesterday. She spent one last night in Antarctica at that location before catching a ride aboard a transport plane headed back to Punta Arenas, Chile today.
Spending two months completely alone in the Antarctic, while struggling against the very harsh elements there, requires a lot of physical and mental strength. Aston has accomplished an amazing feat with this crossing of the continent and I salute her courage and sense of adventure.
[Photo credit: Associated Press]