Two Indians – a ramp model and a student – are all geared up for an all-women South Pole expedition to be led by a septuagenarian Guinness World Record holder Briton Janice Meek starting end December, the duo said on Wednesday.
Madhabilata Mitra of Kolkata and Tanvi Buch from Mumbai, sitting alongside Meek, beamed with excitement while sharing the details of the expedition, christened “Polar Maidens”, with the media here.
Mitra, a ramp model, and mountaineering instructor seemed awestruck at the opportunity.
“I can’t believe that I am going to the land of igloos, sledges where the days and nights are six months long and I am overwhelmed.”
According to Mitra, an instructor at Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling, anybody can undertake such adventures if he or she has loads of self-belief.
“When our mind and soul guides us even physical pain seems to be nothing.”
Sharing her excitement, 24-year-old Buch said: “This is an unexpected opportunity and I just seized the chance as this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
A third-year student of Natural Resource Conservation in the University of British Columbia, she would be the youngest Indian to ski to the South Pole if she successfully completes it.
Meek, the 74-year-old adventurer, is “proud of herself to show that age is no barrier”. The other members of the five women team are Denise Martin from Canada, Ailene Crean from Ireland and Caroline Geraerts from Britain.
“Being the driest, windiest and coldest place on Earth, South Pole is the Holy Grail of explorers,” said Meek who has skied to the North Pole twice.
Geraerts is a breast cancer survivor and Crean is iconic explorer Tom Crean’s granddaughter.
About the training required for such a dangerous trek, Meek revealed:”If one can be on their feet for long and have a strong core, they can do it. Just eat well, exercise well and be determined.”
The team will train in Scotland in September.
“On December we will fly from South America and after reaching Antarctica we will be taken to a special camp called Union Glacier, and from there we will head for the magnetic pole. We will only leave our footprints and try to make it the greenest expedition,” Meek said.
According to her, once the entire team gets acclimatized, they will begin skiing with the help of their guide and it will take more than 20 days to cover the 140 miles from a safe zone to reach the South Pole.
“The expedition will inspire a whole new generation of women from our country to take more challenges. Tanvi and Madhavi shall be the face of India in global extreme sports from now,” said Ankita Mitra, Director, KolEevent, a city-based event management agency that is associated with ‘Polar Maidens’.