Meet The Firefighters Trying To Become The First Women’s Team To Trek 1,180 Miles Across Antarctica
‘We don’t care what society says, when you put your mind to it you can do these things too,’ says Georgina Gilbert.
Six firefighters from the UK want to become the first ever group of women to trek a 1,180 mile (1900km) route across Antarctica, in an effort to raise awareness of mental health issues and teach young girls that “stereotypes about women being fragile are outdated”.
The team, who call themselves the Antarctic Fire Angels – made up of Nakita Ross, Georgina Gilbert, Beci Newton, Alison Kibblewhite, Rebecca Rowe and Nikki Upton – intend to use only muscle power as they ski from coast to coast across the southern continent.
The route has not been completed by a female team before and covers some of the most hostile environments on the planet, including the Titan Dome, which is 3,100 metres above sea level and exposed to some of the harshest weather conditions and snowstorms imaginable.
They estimate it will take 70 days to complete, each carrying 85kg supply sleds in 60mph winds, from the point where their Chilean chartered plane drops them off, via the South Pole, to the Ross ice shelf.
Gilbert, one of the organisers, tells The Independent the expedition requires so much training that they won’t be going until November 2023, after long preparatory trips to places including Norway, Canada and Greenland.
Nakita Ross (left) and Georgina Gilbert
“We have to be trained in so many different areas – particularly medical training and crevasse training. The landscape is covered in these crevasses [deep, open cracks in the glacier] where you can fall and injure yourself.
“The biggest risk we face is exposure. Although we will have satellite phones, the weather is so unpredictable. We can get ourselves physically fit, but the reality is nothing is certain and we can’t prepare so well for the mental exhaustion of it.”
The only certainty is that the team have to complete the trek within an 85-day window or else the short Antarctic summer will pass and the team will find themselves in long periods of darkness.
The team know it will be an endurance test, but are ready for it.
“The point of this trip is to inspire the next generation,” says Gilbert. “We want to smash stereotypical barriers for women and show girls they can be tough and strong, and do jobs like firefighters, the army, or the police force.
“We don’t care what society says, when you put your mind to it you can do these things too.”
The women – half of whom are from fire stations in Wales and half from London – were inspired to take up the challenge after listening to a talk from a female British army officer who had done a similar journey.
Sexist stereotypes are reversed in the surprisingly crude Long Shot
As well as defying stereotypes, the group also want to raise awareness of mental health issues: particularly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which two members of the group suffer from.
Two of the women were also present at the Grenfell fire, something which they say had an impact on their mental health.
“Mental health is very relevant to our group. Some of the others attended Grenfell and have seen how important this is, and how talking about our mental health will help us engage with future generations too,” says Gilbert.
In the next three years, while they are training, the group are looking for sponsorship to support them with equipment, nutrition, technology and the necessary specialist technical support.
But they will also be raising funds for three charities: The Firefighters Charity, PTSD999 (a group specialising in PTSD support) and the Fawcett Society, a charity campaigning for gender equality.
Nigeria’s Former Jonathan Tells African Leaders To Put Humanity First
Joke Falaju, Abuja Bags African Heritage awardFormer President Goodluck Jonathan has urged African leaders privilege to hold public offices to become servants of the people, and not turn themselves into the “bosses of the people”.Jonathan stated this while receiving the African Democracy and Peace Icon…
7th Edition Connected Banking Summit East Africa – Innovation & Excellence Awards 2023 Concludes
POSTED ON MARCH 28, 2023 BY AFRICA BUSINESS The Summit brought together the best and brightest minds in the banking, financial services, fintechs and techfin sectors. The event, which took place on 7th March 2023, featured insightful speakers, award-winning companies, and top-notch sponsors. Attendees were treated to a range…
2020 Awards | Social Media For Social Good Award Announces 100 Micro & Macro Social Media Influencers For Good
Social Media For Social Good Award Announces 100 Micro & Macro Social Media Influencers For Good and Set To Award 25 Of Them On The 13th Of June 2020. The most anticipated list of Nigerians using social media for social good which is curated by…
Ergonomic Furniture Dealer Formfunc Studio Awarded SA’s First 6-Star Green Star Award
-African Independent The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) has awarded Cape Town-based Formfunc Studio, a leading ergonomic furniture supplier, a 6-star Green Star rating following the recent fit-out of their office, showroom and DC in Johannesburg. The project, led by specialist sustainability and…
The Risk And Reward Of ChatGPT In Cybersecurity
Juan is an experienced CTO with a demonstrated history of working in the computer and network security industry. He is an information technology professional skilled in SAP and Oracle applications, computer forensics, vulnerabilities research, IPS/IDS and information security. Unless you’ve been on a retreat in…
Explained – History Of Money From Fiat To Crypto
What is money? Money as a concept has been a cornerstone of human civilization and economic development. To start with the latter, money is a method of storing value and worth, and it also functions as a medium of exchange that allows individuals to exchange…
Studies Show That Nigerian Crypto Foreign Investment Is At A Record Low
Foreign direct investment in Nigeria fell by 33% last year due to a severe shortage of dollars, which discouraged crypto companies from expanding into the country. The largest economy in Africa has a foreign investment problem despite exponential growth in crypto adoption. The National Bureau…
Growing The Bitcoin Development Ecosystem In Africa
– Abubakar Nur Khalil | Bitcoin Magazine Bitcoin development in Africa, with a proper regulatory environment, could equally accelerate the continent and the technology. In this piece, we’ll be analyzing the current state of the Bitcoin developer ecosystem in Africa, ways to improve it and…