1. ITV Report

Soldiers hope to be part of first all-women team to cross South Pole

The team follow in the footsteps of Felicity Aston MBE, an explorer who was the first woman to complete a solo crossing of Antarctica. Photo: British Army

The first ever team made up exclusively of women to cross the South Pole unaided has just returned from extreme survival training a mere 300 miles from the Arctic circle in Norway.

Exercise Ice Maiden is planned for 2017, and the training is as authentic as it gets.

The route will start at the bottom of the Leverett Glacier on the Ross Ice Shelf and will head up to the South Pole. Credit: British Army

During training in Norway the British Army soldiers jumped into ice cold water from a hole in a frozen lake, built and slept in a snow hole and went skiing across glaciers.

One solider paddling in the ice cold water after jumping in. Credit: British Army
Soldier sleeps in an igloo in Norway in preparation for the mission. Credit: British Army

The training exercise was also a chance for the two exercise leaders to whittle down the team from twenty to twelve as part of on-going selection to secure the very best team members.

The attempt, which will be made October 2017, is being called Exercise Ice Maiden.


trek in the South Pole
The team will walk 1700km in temperatures as low as - 80°C facing wind speeds of over 60mph. Credit: British Army

The Exercise will see the British Army team of women attempt to cross the Antarctic landmass under their own power.

With only two re-supply points along the route the team will carry all the supplies and equipment needed to survive for up to 600km at a time.

Sgt Sara Canning from Yeovil says staying warm is a priority.

We're going to have to be aware that it's gonna be 90 days of our lives and there's nowhere to go, so you've got to keep yourself warm.

How I've coped? I think I've done ok. I've done everything I've been told to do, and I think if you stick to what you're told to do you can't really go wrong.

– Sgt Sara Canning