Imagine vast plains of endless ice, temperatures that plummet below -40℃, and howling winds that race around the 95km/h mark. These were the conditions faced by the Ice Maidens on their expedition across Antarctica, during which they became the first all-female team to cross the ice desert powered by nothing but their own muscles and determination.

Ice Maidens

The Ice Maidens together in Antarctica. Image courtesy of the British Army.

 

The group consisted of six women from the British Army, led by Major Nics Wetherill. The purpose of the expedition was to inspire women to take on great challenges, and to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. The other team members were Captain Zanna Baker, Lance Sergeant Sophie Montagne, Lt Jenni Stephenson, Major Nat Taylor and Major Sandy Hennis.

 

Ice Maidens

The Ice Maidens at the end of their journey. Image courtesy of the British Army.

 

Over 250 women applied to take part in the expedition, with the above six making the final cut. The Ice Maidens spent almost two years preparing for the mission, undergoing gruelling preparation exercises. The women faced considerable challenges in one the planet’s most hostile environments, but ended up covering an astonishing 1 700 km over a period of two months. At the end of January 2018, the team crossed the finish line after 62 days in Antarctica. They returned home in March and are now touring to talk about their experiences. 

 

If you’re inspired by their remarkable story of physical determination and survival in some of Mother Nature’s worst conditions, you can read all about their journey on the Ice Maiden blog. We featured these amazing women in the March edition of Marie Claire, along with other inspirational stories of women from around the world.