The Ice Maidens are the first all-female team to cross Antarctica using muscle power alone; a truly remarkable feat which only took the team a remarkable 62 days to complete.
Team Army was incredibly proud to be one of the sponsors of this ground breaking achievement and we were delighted that five of the intrepid team came along to our hosted event at the Army vs Navy Rugby match. Before the match they very kindly agreed to be interviewed about the expedition by our own CEO Maj Gen (Retd) Lamont Kirkland CBE.
Ice Maiden Expedition
After spending 62 days on the ice and covering 1700 kms, six soldiers led by Major Nics Wetherill and Major Nat Taylor crossed the finish line at the Hercules Inlet on Saturday 20th January 2018. Over the two months the team travelled up to 43 kilometres a day, navigating crevasse fields whilst pulling sledges weighing up to 80kg and battling temperatures as low as -40°C.
When Major Taylor and Major Wetherill came up with the idea for the expedition they wanted to inspire women of all ages and abilities. The only conditions for applicants were that they were serving in the Army, Regular or Reserve, and female. 250 applicants were tested to the limit both in the UK and in freezing conditions in Norway with six making it through the final selection to take part in the biggest adventure of their lives.
Starting on the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf on the 20th November 2017, the team climbed up the Transantarctic Mountains, via the Leverett Glacier, to reach the polar plateau.
Speaking about the moment the team reached the South Pole, Lance Sergeant Sophie Montagne said: “It was the middle of the night when we arrived and there was not a soul to be seen. This really added to the poignancy of the moment as the Pole was ours alone – cue a flood of tears from almost every team member! As we stepped forward and touched the famous silver globe, a lifelong dream of mine had just been realised. It’s not often you get to say that!”
After a re-supply at the South Pole the team turned north-west towards Hercules Inlet. Skiing 600km across uneven ground, spending Christmas Day on the ice before reaching their final re-supply point at the base of the Thiel Mountains. From there, they descended to the Hercules Inlet and the finish line.
Extracted from British Army website news story.