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Monday
Jan232012

Woman Is First Person to Cross Antarctica Solo on Skis

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(HERCULES INLET, Antarctica) -- Powered by grit and determination, Felicity Aston became the first person to ski solo across Antarctica on Monday.

Aston finished the 59-day trip almost exactly a century after a Roald Amundsen first reached the South Pole in 1911. The 33-year-old Aston crossed 1,084 miles as she traveled from the Ross Ice shelf to Hercules Inlet, where a plane was to pick her up Monday.

Aston, a freelance travel writer, meteorlogoist and explorer, faced temperatures that averaged -25 degrees as she pulled two sleds across the ice and thick snow on her nearly two-month trip.

While early Antarctic explorers were cut off from the outside world, Aston’s access to a satellite phone meant that friends and family could follow her online as she regularly tweeted and made almost daily podcasts about her journey. An interactive map showed Aston’s progress in real time.  And while she was skiing, Aston listened to bands such as Bon Iver, Juinp and Other Lives.

She laughed at some of the comforts she had to give up. On New Year’s Eve she noted that there would be no champagne.

“No booze with me to toast the new year but treating myself to spoonfulls of the peanut butter I was given at Pole,” Aston tweeted as the new year approached.

In Aston’s last podcast, recorded after she reached Hercules Inlet, the clearly emotional traveler reflected on finishing the trip. “I seem to have got here in a rush or something and I don’t really feel prepared for it,” said Aston. “It feels amazing to be finished and yes overwhelmingly sad that it’s over at the same time.”

However, before Aston could disparage too much, she was reminded of what she would get to leave behind.

“Just in case I was in danger of feeling sentimental, a violent wind has appeared from nowhere and is beating the tent like the bad old days,” tweeted Aston Sunday night.

Weather permitting, Aston planned to return home Monday where she said she was looking forward to some “red wine and a hot shower.”

In her latest tweet Aston admits she is sad to leave the icy continent. "The plane is on its way so these are my last moments alone in Antarctica. I feel both excited and extremely sad,” said Aston.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio