Ex ICE MAIDEN - Can they be the first?
Ex ICE MAIDEN aims to be the first all female team to ski coast to coast across Antarctica using muscle power alone. We will cover 1,700km, pulling sledges of approximately 75kg and battling temperatures of -50°C and wind speeds of over 60mph during our three-month journey. With only two resupply points along the route, we will carry all the supplies and equipment needed to survive for up to 600km at a time.
The team training hard in Hardangervidda National Park, Norway
Our route begins with a climb up the Transantarctic Mountains, via the Leverett Glacier climbing 2835m before skiing over 500km to the South Pole. Following a re-supply at the South Pole we will turn north-west towards Hercules Inlet skiing a further 600km across uneven ground created by sastrugi. The final leg will gradually descend to Hercules Inlet on the Ronne Ice Shelf. It is this leg that offers the highest risk of crevasses.
Our team of 6 are all serving in the British Army or Army Reserve. Capt Zanna Baker (DCSU), Lt Jenni Stephenson (32RA) and LSgt Sophie Montagne (HAC) make up half the team, having been selected from over 250 applicants over 3 test and training exercises.
Maj Nics Wetherill RAMC, LSgt Sophie Montagne RA, Lt Jenni Stephenson RA, Maj Sandy Hennis RSIGNALS, Maj Natalie Taylor RAMC, Capt Zanna Baker RA. Fond farewells at London Heathrow.
This selection process saw applicants learn to live in extreme environments, working alongside the Royal Marine Commandos and Norwegian Army in the Arctic Circle in Norway. As the team grew smaller the training intensified including regular crevasse rescue practice and culminating in a three-week expedition across the Hardangervidda National Park in March 2017. From this expedition our final team of 6 were selected.
LSgt Sophie Montagne: VO2 Max testing in Coventry Summiting our first 4000m+ peak in Switzerland
Throughout the selection process the main aim of the expedition has been to involve as many women as possible, inspiring a new era of expeditionary spirit, encouraging people of all ages to take up a challenge, get active and get outdoors. Alongside this we will be collecting ground breaking medical data informing research into how the female body copes with extreme endurance in polar environments.
Follow our progress on www.exicemaiden.com or through our Facebook page Antarctica Ice Maiden.