Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Winds hold back Pole trek Briton

British adventurer Felicity Aston has said windy weather and crevasse-laden terrain had hampered her bid to become the first woman to cross Antarctica alone.

However Ms Aston, 33, said she expected to reach the South Pole in two weeks before heading off for the other side of the frozen continent.

She told The Associated Press in a satellite phone interview that she had skied about 140 miles so far and had less than 230 miles to go to reach the pole.

"All in all I'm about five days behind, but all these things are relative, so it's not disaster yet," she said. "The visibility's been pretty bad. There's been a lot of snow around. But today... it was a good day."

She said relentless winds had slowed her and she also took a winding route to avoid crevasses.

Ms Aston, from Kent, set out on November 25 on a journey of more than 1,000 miles that she expected to take about 70 days.

She had hoped to make it to the South Pole by December 13, the centennial of Norwegian Roald Amundsen's achievement in leading the first team to reach the pole. More than 30 teams are currently heading for the South Pole, trying to make it in time for an anniversary celebration.

"I'm going to miss the party," Ms Aston said. "It's still lovely in the 100th anniversary year to be out here."

Ms Aston previously spent nearly three years as a meteorologist with the British Antarctic Survey and in 2009 led an all-women group from the coast to the South Pole.

If successful, Ms Aston will become the first person using only muscle power to cross Antarctica alone. Boerge Ousland of Norway previously made a 64-day trip across the continent in 1997, but he harnessed the wind when it blew in his favour by strapping himself to a parachute-like sail.

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph