Monday, Feb. 20, 2012
Feb. 20, 1935, Caroline Mikkelsen, the Norwegian wife of a whaling captain, becomes the first woman to set foot on Antarctica. Although Mikkelsen’s visit to Antarctica is relatively brief, it paves the way for female researchers on the continent in later years. Mikkelsen and her husband Klarius spend approximately six hours ashore at Vestfold Hills located on the eastern shore of Antarctica. Twelve years following Mikkkelsen’s landmark achievement, Edith Ronne and Jennie Darlington become the first women to remain on Antarctica for at least a year when they spend 15 months on Stonington Island on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Less than a month ago, Felicity Aston, a 34-year-old British adventurer, became the first woman to ski across Antarctica alone. During her 59-day grueling solo journey, Aston covered 1,084 miles (1,744 km) on skies, hauling two sleds over mountainous terrain. Aston began her journey on Nov. 25, 2011, at Leverett Glacier and completed the trek on Jan. 23, at Hercules Inlet on Antarctica. In an interview with The Associated Press, Aston expressed how emotional her journey proved to be saying, “When I saw the coastal mountains that marked my end point for the first time, I literally just stopped in my tracks and bawled my eyes out.”