Call of the White: Taking the World to the South Pole; Eight Women, One Unique Expedition
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Could YOU ski to the South Pole?
That was the challenge that British adventurer Felicity Aston put to women from around the Commonwealth, as she set out to create the most international all-female expedition ever to the Pole. The team would not be experienced explorers but 'ordinary' women who wanted to inspire others to follow their dreams or make a change for the better in their lives. She received more than 800 applications.
'What is skiing?' asked someone in Ghana.
At the close of 2009, Felicity led a team from places as diverse as Jamaica, India, Singapore and Cyprus – some of whom had never even seen snow or spent the night in a tent before joining the expedition – on one of the toughest journeys on the planet.
him. The pilot was growing impatient. 'Come on or we won't make it to Santarém before dark.' 'You can't leave this guy here all alone with nothing to eat!' Peter protested. 'Oh yes I can,' he replied. 'Some of his mates are coming back in a week or so to continue prospecting, and they'll bring supplies. When he's earned his fare like everyone else he can leave. I know this son of a bitch. He's always broke and always begging favours. I don't like him.' Before we had time to think up a
again when training women in the Arctic. However, her motivation was about patriotism rather than personal development. ‘Listening to the news here in Cyprus,’ she explained, ‘you’d think that everybody knows about us, but people from other European nations don’t actually know anything about the problems here. They don’t even know about the occupation. This expedition will be an opportunity to tell everyone about our island, to let them know about Cyprus.’ Next to arrive was Nicky, the author of
I tried to make sure that we didn’t work ourselves into the ground, that everybody got enough sleep and enough to eat so that they arrived in Antarctica fit and rested rather than stressed and exhausted, but there was a nervous energy in the team that caused mistakes to be made, mistakes that we couldn’t afford. Kim came to see me in the hostel with a broken stove pump in her hand. She had been a little overenthusiastic when testing a stove and snapped part of the plastic pump, rendering our
Her liners had snow clinging to them and I knew they would be wet. I was annoyed as we had talked so often about not giving in to this exact temptation. I was even more annoyed that rather than look after her hands, Kim was insisting that she stay outside to help. ‘Kim!’ I shouted. She hadn’t seen me approach and both Kim and Helen jumped as I yelled over the wind. ‘Get in the tent and get your hands warm. You’re no use out here in those gloves.’ She left and I knelt down to help Helen but when
resist, I tried a long green bean while it was still too hot, breathing out the hot air as I chewed but with a huge, ecstatic grin on my face. Better than the taste was the texture – to have something that went ‘crunch’ when you bit into it was such a novelty; everything else we ate was the soft, mulchy product of chemical processes but this was genuine food. Less successful was the protein powder that we were to drink each evening to help our muscles recover for the following day. It didn’t