Banner of Support for Felicity

When the plane finally landed on the 23rd of January to take Felicity back to civilisation, she was greeted by this banner, featuring the faces of her fans! A Facebook competition, run on the Kaspersky Lab Facebook page, invited users to enter for the chance to feature on the banner – and be amongst the first faces Felicity would see after 60 days of solitude.

Following a few days’ rest at Hilleberg, Felicity returned to Chile to enjoy the heat of the sun, hot showers and a comfy bed before she arrived in the UK today, 31st January.

Felicity Aston

 

Transantarctic Expedition Week 8

Congratulations to Felicity and her team!  She has now officially become the first woman to traverse the Antarctic alone. After 1744km and 59 days, she has reached Hercules Inlet on the Ronne Ice Shelf and completed her journey. Due to bad weather, she will be spending a final night alone on the ice before a plane takes her back to civilisation tomorrow – and the promise of red wine and hot shower!

Kaspersky Lab Announces that Felicity Aston Has Completed Her Record-Setting Expedition

Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer of secure content and threat management solutions, announces the successful completion of the Kaspersky ONE Transantarctic Expedition, which saw renowned British explorer Felicity Aston becoming the first woman in history to cross Antarctica alone.

Supported by Kaspersky Lab, Felicity battled the elements for 59 days, covering around 1700km. She started her route on November 25, journeying alone from the Ross Ice Shelf up the Leverett Glacier across the Transantarctic Mountains to the South Pole, where she had her only one-day rest period. She then continued on across the Polar Plateau to the opposite coast of the continent at the Ronne Ice Shelf. Felicity finished her journey on January 22, having set a new world record.

Commenting on Felicity’s arrival at her destination, Eugene Kaspersky, Chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Lab, said: “I am so proud that we’ve had the opportunity to contribute to this unique project. This is a feat that will go down in history. We congratulate Felicity on her great victory! I’m sure this will be an important milestone in the long list of her achievements. Fighting against the dangerous environment and keeping moving forward is something that unites us with Felicity, and her achievements inspire our whole team around the world!”

Upon her arrival at her destination, Felicity said: “I cannot express how happy I am to have finally made it! The Kaspersky ONE Transantarctic Expedition represents a culmination of everything I experienced and learned before on other challenging journeys. I prepared for it physically and mentally for a very long time. And finally here I am having reached my final destination, having got through some rather severe conditions, but most importantly of all having overcome my own fear. I will never forget this moment, and I’m sure the memory will lead me on to other ventures in the future. I am so grateful to everyone who supported me on my way, to my family and friends, and to the Kaspersky Lab team, who were always there for me.”

The entire route was followed live on an interactive map on a dedicated website, on Twitter, on Kaspersky Lab’s YouTube channel, and on Facebook. All her followers could support Felicity by sending her some words of encouragement, and at the end of her journey Felicity was presented with a banner with profile pictures of all those who were rooting for her the whole time.

The partnership between Felicity Aston and Kaspersky Lab started back in 2009, when the company sponsored another project: the Kaspersky Lab Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition, which saw Felicity leading a team of seven women from Commonwealth countries, skiing over 900 km from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole. These brave women, representing five continents, six faiths and seven languages, marked the 60th anniversary of the Commonwealth. Ever since this successful expedition Felicity has been treated as a member of Kaspersky Lab’s team, being a regular guest at various company events. That’s why Kaspersky Lab was happy to support her new challenging record-setting project and to sponsor the Kaspersky ONE Transantarctic Expedition.

Kaspersky ONE, a multi-platform universal security solution, brings Kaspersky Lab’s leading protection technologies to a large number of personal devices, from desktop PCs, Macs and notebooks, to smartphones and tablets. It’s an example of Kaspersky Lab’s new user-centric approach to personal security, with a single license for all devices that need protection from emerging cyber threats. Kaspersky ONE was released in the UK and USA in October 2011 and will be available worldwide at the end of January 2012.

About Kaspersky Lab

Kaspersky Lab is the largest antivirus company in Europe. It delivers some of the world’s most immediate protection against IT security threats, including viruses, spyware, crimeware, hackers, phishing, and spam. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users. Kaspersky Lab products provide superior detection rates and one of the industry’s fastest outbreak response times for home users, SMBs, large enterprises and the mobile computing environment. Kaspersky® technology is also used worldwide inside the products and services of the industry’s leading IT security solution providers. Learn more at www.kaspersky.com. For the latest on antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-spam and other IT security issues and trends, visit www.securelist.com.

Homesickness

I remember being 10 or 11 years old preparing to spend a weekend away from home. My
parents dropped me off at the dormitory where I would be staying with a group of girls but
I didn’t want them to leave. It was winter and the moon was already up even though it was
early. To comfort me my Mum said that if I missed her all I had to do was look up at the
moon or the stars and think that she was looking at exactly the same sky.

Of course, as soon as my parents left and I got to know the other girls, I didn’t give home
another thought – but several times over the years when I have been far from home I’ve
looked up at the night sky and been comforted by that same sentiment.

I think everyone gets homesick occasionally, no matter how old you are – you might call
it something different – but it is still homesickness of one kind or another . I was really
interested to learn that homesickness is often caused by a reaction to our new environment.
In Antarctica I am most likely to feel homesick when I am cold, hungry and uncomfortable
because images of home represent the exact opposite to all these discomforts – it
represents warmth, food, comfort, safety. This seems to make a lot of sense. When I feel
vulnerable I guess it is natural that I would long for a place I feel safe – for me, that would be
home.

Somehow, understanding the logic behind an emotion, makes that emotion easier to deal
with.

Resilient Thinking

Hypothermia happens when the body gets too cold. As the core temperature drops – even by a fractional amount – the body begins shutting down, and if the cooling continues, it can be fatal. One of the first signs that someone may be slipping into hypothermia is that they start behaving strangely. They might become uncharacteristically quiet, wear a jacket they don’t normally need, be incoherent, or clumbsy in their movements. I have heard several stories of people with severe hypothermia believing that they are too hot and removing clothing even though their life may depend on doing the exact opposite.

What scares me about this, is that it is never the person affected who notices the changes in their behaviour. It is those travelling with them that detect the signs. During this expedition I will be alone and so there is nobody with me to pick up on the fact that I am behaving strangely or making inappropriate decisions. What happens if, through hypothermia, exhaustion or general disorientation, I can no longer rely on my own brain to make reasonable, considered choices? How will I know if I am making a decision for the right reasons?

I feel that this is one of the biggest differences between setting out on an expedition alone, rather than with a team. I have to make a conscious effort to examine every decision I make to reassure myself that I am remaining objective. Dr Pack has given me a system for analysing decisions I make by breaking down the process to reveal the driving emotions behind each choice made. This is called resilient thinking. For example, if one day I decide after 8 hours skiing to make a detour from my route that will, I believe, save me some time and distance I could analyse this choice by asking myself some questions. Why am I making this decision now? How am I feeling? Bored, scared, tired? Is this decision something I’ve been considering for a while or is it driven by the fact that I’m tired after 8 hours of skiing and changing my route would provide a welcome novelty to alleviate the monotony of the day? This kind of thinking can be applied to decisions big and small, and with some practise I hope it will become a quick and easy way to check up on myself.

Transantarctic Expedition Week 7

With less than two weeks to go, Felicity is rapidly approaching the end of her remarkable journey. Changeable weather, chronic tiredness and cold extremities have challenged the last leg of the expedition but her determination continues to push her forward. She hopes to reach the coast within 9 days, at which point she will officially become the first woman to traverse Antarctica alone. Don’t forget to show your support via Twitter or Facebook and welcome her across the finish line!

Psychology

By the end of the expedition I will have spent about 60-70 days on my own in the featureless landscape of Antarctica. Coping with the mental stress of being alone for this length of time and dealing with the monotony of both my daily routine and the landscape I am skiing across is key to the success of the expedition. It also presents an opportunity to learn something about the mental processes that enable self-discipline, perseverance, motivation and, ultimately, achievement when under pressure.

In preparation for the expedition, I worked with Dr Stephen Pack, a Senior Lecturer / Researcher at the University of Hertfordshire specializing in Sport and Exercise Psychology. He is an expert in the use of psychological skills by sport performers, the implementation of psychological skills training, and the use of counselling skills in sport and exercise psychology. Dr Pack taught me some tools and techniques that helped her prepare for, and process, the mental rigours of the expedition and the months of isolation in a demanding environment.

Using language as an indicator of mental process, Dr Pack is looking closely at the podcasts recorded during my expedition to chart my mental journey through my use of language. Combined with pre and post expedition sessions, he hopes to use this information to contribute to his main research interest which lies in perceptions of stress and coping, and the link between physical activity and psychological well-being, particularly in the natural environment. Ultimately it is hoped that my journey might provide some insight into the influence of physical activity on mental well-being and on what motivates individuals to achieve.

 

Transantarctic Expedition Weeks 3 – 6

Following two days of rest at the South Pole Station, Felicity continued her journey on the 23rd of December. Christmas Eve brought strong winds which she had to battle head-on all day. Although the weather was still changeable on Christmas Day itself, the sunshine lifted her spirits and made the challenge that bit more manageable. Felicity was also able to enjoy a Christmas Day treat of Jellybabies thanks to Birchington Primary School in Kent!Antarctic

Over the following few days, Felicity made great progress and appreciated the warmth that skiing directly towards the sun brought. Towards the end of December, the bad weather caught up with her and the rough ground and massive sastrugi (surface irregularities formed by wind erosion) made for a difficult New Year!

As one can well imagine, the solitude and physical exertion gradually became more of a challenge as Felicity approached her 6th week on the ice, although clear weather and beautiful views of the Thiel Mountains in the distance helped to push her forward.

Over the past number of days, Felicity has left the mountain views and re-entered a vast and empty 360 degree horizon. Keep up the good work!

 

South Pole

It is confusing that there are several different South Poles (the magnetic south pole, the geomagnetic south pole, the southern pole of inaccessibility etc) but the one most commonly referred to as THE south pole, is the Geographic South Pole. This is the southernmost point on the globe, the point around which the Earth spins and the place first reached by Scott and Amundsen 100 years ago. Today, it is also the site of one of the largest research stations in Antarctica. The Amundsen-Scott station (known as ‘Pole’) is an American-run station where some 250 people live and work during the Antarctic summer season. The two-story station is raised on stilts above the snow and is a few hundred yards from the South Pole.Felicity Aston at South Pole

In front of the Amundsen-Scott station is a silver sphere on a red and white striped barbers pole a few feet high, surrounded by the flags of the 14 nations that signed the original Antarctic Treaty in 1957 – but to make matters regarding all the different south poles even more confusing, this is only a ‘ceremonial’ south pole. The actual location of 90S is a short distance away, marked by a stake and a signboard. The stake is topped by an ornamental pin-head which is created by the staff that have spent the winter at the nearby research station and which changes each year. This second pole is necessary because although the ceremonial silver sphere appears to be stationary, it is actually sitting on the Antarctic plateau, a thick cap of ice that is slowly moving out towards the sea. So, in fact, the silver sphere moves northward every year. The second marker is repositioned annually over the actual point of 90S.

This will be my third arrival at the South Pole but each time it has been under very different circumstances and had a totally different significance. It still feels very bizarre to be standing at the very bottom of our planet.

Felicity Reaches the South Pole!

After nearly a month of skiing through both storms and sunshine, Felicity finally arrived at the geographic South Pole earlier this week. Although not her final destination, getting to this point is still a personal achievement and will allow her to stock up on much-needed supplies and rest before the next leg of her long journey.

Congratulations Felicity!

© COPYRIGHT 2011 KASPERSKY LABS