Hannah did it! South Pole has a new Speed Record

Posted: Dec 29, 2006 11:18 am EST

Hannah's expedition plan was simple: Ski to the South Pole, solo and unsupported in a record time of 40 days. At 8.33 PM Thursday evening Hannah McKeand arrived at the Pole, reaching her goal and beating the old Herculest Inlet to SP record by 2 days.

She started out at Hercules Inlet at 10 AM GMT on November 19 2006 and arrived at the South Pole on Thursday December 28 at 8.33pm GMT. The final skiing time is 39 days, 10 hours and 33 min, almost 2 days faster than the previous record of 41 days 8 hours and 14 min.

Hannah is now the fastest unsupported South Pole skier in the world and the 9th woman to ski to the Pole without resupplies.

After earning a degree in Classics at Lampeter University and working as Marketing Manager and then Tourmanager for the Watermill Theatre in Newbury U.K. for seven years, at 31 Hannah McKeand decided to drop everything, mortgage the house and go exploring.

In 2001 she traveled across the Western Desert on the borders of Egypt, Libya and Sudan; the first of several trips to the Northern Africa desert areas. In 2004, she hiked across Afghanistan. Later that year she joined a team led by Denise Martin for the South Pole. Other members were Owen Jones, Craig Mathieson and Fiona Taylor. They were dropped onto the ice at Hercules Inlet on November 4 and headed straight into bad weather.

Fiona suffered frostbite during the trip from Hercules Inlet to Patriot Hill, where she decided to abort her attempt. Weeks later, Owen, in pain due to an Achilles tendon injury, would be airlifted near the Thiel Mountains.

In exchange, the team was joined by Stuart and Linda, who were pinned down when their team leader Devon suffered a bad cut to his hand, and had to be airlifted from the ice. The group arrived at the Geographic South Pole on Dec 29, 2004.

Back from Antarctica in 2005, Hannah completed half the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, sailing as watch leader on Glasgow Clipper from Liverpool, England to Portugal, Brazil, Durban, Fremantle, Singapore and the Philippines.

Earlier this year, Hannah resurfaced - teaming up with David Pryce, an experienced Antarctic and Southern Ocean sailor. They launched Blizzard Expeditions, an adventure outfit company exploring the Southern Ocean regions including Antarctica, South Georgia, Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego as well as Cape Horn and the Beagle Channel.


"The biggest lesson I have learned so far is that with a little patience, you can get anywhere. If you just keep putting one foot in front of the other then vast distances can be covered in time.