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Kiwi woman celebrates South Pole trek

Published: 8:55AM Thursday December 31, 2009 Source: ONE News

One New Zealand adventurer has definitely got reason to celebrate this New Year.
Kylie Wakelin of Twizel has just become the first Kiwi woman to trek to the South Pole on foot.
She was part of an all-female Commonwealth anniversary party.
Eight women from seven Commonwealth countries trekked 900 kilometres over ice for 50 days to reach the pole.

For Wakelin, it has been worth every agonising step.

"It was really, really amazing skiing towards this cluster of buildings that we'd been able to see on the horizon for a couple of days. Then as we approached people cheered and took photos and we were just like 'wahoo'. We felt great."

Her New Year plans are simple.

"I'm going to get a shower when I get back to Chile, which will be about January 7 I think. I've been looking forward to a ham and cheese sandwich. I've been thinking about pies."

Listen to Ana Olykan's full interview with Wakelin.

After months of planning and training in New Zealand and Norway, the team set out on November 22. They took the Messner Track route, and braving blizzards and crevasses, trekked an average of 24 kilometres a day to reach the pole.

The expedition was organised to mark the Commonwealth's 60th anniversary.

Towing an 80kg sled each and leading the team in turns, the mental and physical toll has been tough.

"We travelled in fear, I think, for the first 10 days because we were so far off any resuce path for flights for any medivac," says Wakelin.

It is a fantastic adventure to toast, but with supplies not due in until Friday, the champagne is still on ice.