Five British Army women have received Royal approval for their ambitious adventurous training expedition at a special sponsorship event at the Honourable Artillery Company HQ in London.
ICE MAIDEN will ski coast-to-coast across Antarctica in October 2017 and will be the first ever all-female team to make the crossing. Over a three month period, the ICE MAIDEN team will cover 1,700km using muscle-power alone. Each team member will drag a pulk and battle temperatures of -40C and wind speeds of over 60mph. They will carry all the supplies and equipment they need to survive for up to 600km, with only two resupply points on route. During their expedition they will also conduct cutting edge medical research into how the female body copes with extreme endurance in polar environments.
From over 250 Army women who initially applied, the team has been down-selected to seven members; only five will make the journey with their support team. The selection and training process to date has already achieved their aim. Those who haven’t been selected have returned to their units with a new sense of self belief and confidence, whether they have been inspired to run and lead their own adventurous expeditions, proactively change their lifestyle or embrace their own personal challenges. Everyone who comes in contact with this incredible team is engendered with the palpable ICE MAIDEN spirit, including HRH The Countess of Wessex, who is the expedition’s Royal Patron. At the launch she said:
“Having already demonstrated enormous passion and commitment through the tough selection process this incredible team has developed into a tight-knit, driven and courageous group who I know will face head on the challenges which lie ahead. I am confident that their skills, professionalism and perseverance will ensure the best possible chance of success. These women will not only be setting new records through their endeavours, but will also be carrying out valuable and ground-breaking medical research which will have far reaching future applications, at the same time as being an inspiration to women and girls everywhere”.
Adventurous Training (AT) such as this, which promotes, through the conduct of arduous outdoor activities with exposure to hardship and danger, the Army’s core values is formal, publicly-funded military training. Participation in AT is an integral aspect of military training which supports the values and standards of the British Army, thus enhances an individual’s ability to withstand the rigours of operations. Access to all levels of AT is open to all servicemen and women, including the injured and disabled who are able to participate through the Battle Back initiative.
Army News Release 17 March Ref 020/17 – Images MOD (c) 2017