Ice Maidens’ Antarctic achievement
Two women who were part of an all-female team that made history earlier this year by crossing the Antarctic unaided have revealed medical tests showed the extraordinary endurance of their bodies.
Six women from the British Army, known as the Ice Maidens, became the largest allfemale group to ski coast to coast on the frozen continent.
They completed the 1,000mile journey in extreme conditions, pulling an 80kg sledge behind them in temperatures as low as -42C for 62 days before crossing the finishing line at Hercules Inlet in January. The full results of medical tests using data gathered from the women during their expedition are expected to be published in the coming weeks.
Early indications suggest a “high female biological capacity for extreme endurance exercise”.
Results from previous expeditions – mostly made up of men and civilian women - found participants lost a considerable amount more body mass than the Ice Maidens.
Two members of the team, Royal Signals reservist Major Sandy Hennis from the Midlands and Honourable Artillery Company reservist Lance Sergeant Sophie Montagne from London, visited Northern Ireland this week as part of a post-expedition outreach programme.
They described aiming to eat 5,000 calories a day on their trek – while they were expending up to 10,000 calories.
After working to gain weight before the expedition, Sandy lost around 12kg, finishing just 2kg underweight.
“That is amazing, mostly people come back having lost a lot more, we generally looked pretty good,” Sophie said.
In Northern Ireland, they have been speaking to a wide range of people including school girls at Glenlola Collegiate in Bangor.
Major Sandie Hennis (Left) and Lance Sergeant Sophie Montange, two of the women from the British Army, known as the Ice Maidens, who became the largest all-female group to ski coast to coast across Antarctica.