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Trek across Antarctica takes emotional toll


Temperatures can feel like -60° C with windchill. Photo credit: Kaspersky Lab
Temperatures can feel like -60° C with windchill. Photo credit: Kaspersky Lab

Staff writers

December 19, 2011 — A solo Antarctic ski trip is proving to be both physically and emotionally challenging for one British woman.

Aston will carry a pack of supplies on a sled. Photo credit: Kaspersky Lab
Aston will carry a pack of supplies on a sled. Photo credit: Kaspersky Lab

Last month, British adventurer Felicity Aston embarked on a journey of a lifetime. After strapping on a pair of skis and loading up two sleds packed with supplies, Aston is hoping to become the first woman to trek across Antarctica alone.

She has covered about one-third of the 1,700 km journey and says the emotional toll is much greater than she ever expected.

“Yesterday was the first day I didn't burst into tears at any point. Must mean I'm getting used to this finally?” she said in a Twitter post last week. “I felt tired today but I could hear my Mums voice encouraging me, 'Just keep moving. Keep moving forward,'” she said in another post.

Aston says little problems like ski bindings and broken cigarette lighters used to start a camp stove seem like much bigger problems when you're all alone in the Antarctica. Still, the 34-year-old battles on through storms, injuries, frostbite and temperatures of -30°C.

“Ice coating my fur hood and icicles hanging off my mask and goggles made me look like a real polar explorer today,” she tweeted Saturday.

Aston on her last Antarctic trek. Photo credit: Kaspersky Lab
Aston on her last Antarctic trek. Photo credit: Kaspersky Lab

Aston is no stranger to the Antarctic. After graduating university, she spent three years as a meteorologist with the British Antarctic Survey. In 2009, she led a group of a women on a ski trip across the frozen terrain. But, one thing is new – she’s never done it alone.

“In the past 10 years, I’ve been lucky enough to take part in lots of different types of activities, but I’ve never attempted a trip on my own before,” she told The Weather Network before leaving for her adventure. “So for me, that adds a whole new dimension for it, and a bit of an extra challenge. It’s sort of a physical challenge as well as a mental one.”

While skiing, Aston listens to an MP3 player. She said posting on Twitter also helps her to feel a little less lonely.

Once reaching the South Pole, Aston will make a turn and head towards Hercules Inlet, where she hopes to finish the journey late January.

You can follow her journey at www.kasperskyonetransantarcticexpedition.com. You can also stay up-to-date by following Aston on Twitter.

With files The Associated Press

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