The AT50: Icewoman Felicity Aston (#39)

This polar explorer went solo across the bottom of the world
Staff Writer

Flickr/Eugene Kaspersky

Age: 35
Sport: Polar Exploration
Highlights: Member of first all-lady team to complete the Polar Challenge, a 360-mile race across Arctic Canada (2005); led team of women across the Greenland ice sheet (2006); skied Siberia's Vilyuy River in winter (2007); traversed 600km (373 miles) along the shore of Lake Baikal in the heart of the Siberian winter (2008); led a team of eight women on a 900km (560-mile) ski from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole (2009); first woman to ski solo across Antarctica (2012)
Quote: "When I look at a map of the world, my eye tends to wander to the fringes—that's where I want to be. I want to see what's there. I'm incredibly curious."
Fact: Aston cried nearly every day during her solo expedition across Antarctica.
AT50 Point Total: 35

Felicity Aston loves exploring the earth's frozen fringes. Ever since a three-year stint (2001-2004) as a meteorologist with the British Antarctic Survey, she's been venturing deep into the world's coldest places—crossing Greenland's inland ice sheet, racing across Arctic Canada, skiing and trekking through the Siberian winter—until, finally, as natural progression would suggest, launching expeditions to the South Pole. On her latest journey, which wrapped in early 2012, she became the first-ever woman to ski solo across Antarctica. It was the kind of trip that tested her mettle in ways you wouldn't expect. Was she worried about freezing solid in a storm or falling into a crevasse? A little. But what really worried her was staying sane for two months alone in an empty landscape, and the very real possibility that hypothermia, the so-called "silent killer" of polar expeditions, might subdue her without her even knowing it. She cried (alot, too) she hallucinated, she even spoke to the sun, but in the end, Aston proved herself.
—Peter Koch

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