Back in November, a group of seven women from a variety of countries around the globe set out on a long, and challenging journey. Calling themselves the Kaspersky Commonwealth Expedition, they left Patriot Hills, along the Antarctic coast, and over the course of the next 39 days, traveled more than 550 miles on skis, before arriving at their destination at the geographic South Pole yesterday.
The expedition is described on the team’s website as “5 Continents. 6 Faiths. 7 Languages. 8 Women. 1 daring ambition”. And what a daring ambition it has been. The original eight women come from Cyprus, Ghana, India, Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand, Jamaica and the United Kingdom, each of which are Commonwealth countries. Due to illness, one of the women was forced to withdraw from the team at the last minute, leaving the other seven to continue without her.
The expedition served two purposes. The first was to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Commonwealth, while the second was a celebration of the achievement of women from around the planet. These ladies hope to serve as role models for young girls back home, showing them that it is possible to for women to do great things. In several cases, these women are first person, man or woman, from their home country to make the journey to the South Pole.
That journey was not an easy one. The ladies had to deal with blizzards, whiteout conditions, vast crevasse fields, and long, demanding days out on the ice, where the temperatures often fell below -20ºF. In order to make the journey, they had to pull their gear and supplies behind them on heavy sleds, while they crossed miles of wide open terrain, often exposed to howling winds and blowing snow.
For now, the team is resting at the research station located at the South Pole, where they are enjoying warm beds and hot meals for the first time in weeks. In the next day or two, they’ll be picked up from the ice by plane, and begin to make the return trip home. But until then, they’re content and happy, with having reached a place on the planet that few people will ever see and accomplishing something that few could ever dream of.