If you'd become the first woman to ski across Antarctica alone, what's the first thing you'd want on completion of your 59-day, 1,055-mile journey?
A glass of red wine and a hot shower sounded fine to British explorer Felicity Aston, who accomplished the feat Sunday.
Aston, 33, was waiting Monday morning at Hercules Inlet, Antarctica, after one last night in the tent that that had protected her from the continent's harsh elements since she began her trek on November 25.
Bad weather had prevented her pickup by a Hercules C-130 plane on Sunday, but Monday was "a lovely day," she tweeted. She said she was making weather reports every hour to clear the way for the plane to come.
Aston's trek took her from the Ross Ice Shelf across the Transantarctic Mountains to the South Pole to her destination on the Ronne Ice Shelf on the opposite coast of the continent. She had only one day of rest during her journey, at the pole itself.
“I cannot express how happy I am to have finally made it!," she said of when she completed the journey, according to her sponsor, Kaspersky Lab.
View the path Aston took as well as her podcast dispatches along the route
"The Kaspersky ONE Transantarctic Expedition represents a culmination of everything I experienced and learned before on other challenging journeys. I prepared for it physically and mentally for a very long time. And finally here I am having reached my final destination, having got through some rather severe conditions, but most importantly of all having overcome my own fear," Aston said in the release.
Kaspersky Lab is Europe's largest producer of antivirus software.
Aston's tweets from her journey show she endured conditions from whiteouts to baking-hot sunshine.
Among the hardships she endured during her trips: losing a toenail, temperatures approaching -40 degrees Celsius, ripped clothing (She tweeted she had some sewing to do. How does one work a needle and thread at 40 below?), laundry problems ("Tried to do some laundry in the tent this evening. Didn't go well. I now have frozen knickers," she tweeted on December 6), loneliness ("Yesterday was the first day I didnt burst into tears at any point," she tweeted 16 days in), and a personal transformation of sorts.
That weight loss came even though she was consuming about 5,000 calories a day.
Her supplies were replenished by air twice during the trip.
But with the hardships, her awe and appreciation of Antarctica always came through.
And later in the trip:
And on January 9:
Aston used her trip to raise money for the British Antarctic Monument Trust. The trust wants to build a monument in the Falkland Islands "to commemorate those killed in Antarctica while in pursuit of science," according to her page on JustGiving.com. She'd reached 57% of her goal of 1,700 British pounds ($2,650) on Monday.
Aston's Antarctic journey was the latest in 10 years of adventures.
According to her website, she has "raced in the Canadian Arctic, led a team of women across the inland ice of Greenland, led a record-making international team to the South Pole, searched for meteorite craters in Quebec, skied along a frozen river in Siberia, traversed the winter ice of Lake Baikal, completed the infamous Marathon Des Sables across the Moroccan Sahara and spent three years living and working in the Antarctic."
No word Monday on what's next.
You have the kind of spirit that made mankind great. Ignore the couch spuds that are even afraid toi cross State lines. Your feat makes those of us who can appreciate what you have done glad to welcome you back home.
@bombo come on dude be nice its an accomplishment but its ok ill forgive you im an adventure traveler my self but winter down there? Holy BLUE BALLS!!!!
Hi Tanya, I agree. A picture such as your Avatar works, too. I asmuse it represents you in some way and definitely shows your sense of humor by having a cartoon-ish character picture. I think that's fine, too. Thanks for adding to the conversation!