THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY HONG KONG
in conjunction with the LRC Club
"Solo to both Poles"
Thursday, 16 October 2008
LRC Club, 10 Old Peak Road, Mid Levels
6.30 pm Drinks Reception; 7.30 pm Lecture
We are delighted to welcome to the Royal Geographical Society in Hong Kong Rosie Stancer, the one of the greatest female polar explorers. Rosie was the first woman to go to the North Pole in an all female team, the first woman to reach the South Pole solo and unassisted and, in her epic expedition of 2007, the woman to reach closest to the North Pole solo. Rosie, a sparkling speaker and vivacious character in addition to her epic expoits, is in great demand as a speaker and she is most generously fitting in this lecture to a lecture schedule running two years ahead. The lecture also includes stunning slides from her expeditions.
Rosie's polar expeditions started in 1996, since when she has embarked on major polar expeditions of increasing severity and commitment. In 1997, Rosie Stancer was one of 20 amateur women selected for a place on the first all women's expedition to the North Pole, the 'Penguin Polar Relay'. A relay of five teams hauled sleds of up to 150lbs across 500 miles of shifting pack ice in temperatures down to minus 40ºc. After 73 days, the relay group stood on top of the world at the North Pole.
In 1999, Rosie and four others from the first expedition organised and managed their own expedition to the South Pole, The 'M&G ISA Challenge'. Without guides, and with just one resupply, they completed the 700 mile journey from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole in 61 days, once again walking into the history books as the first all women team to do so.
Rosie Stancer's next biggest challenge came in the Austral summer of 2004 on the 'South Pole Solo 2004' expedition, when she walked alone and without resupply to the South Pole. Hauling a sledge more than twice her body weight for over 700 miles, Rosie reached the Pole in 43 days 23 hours, breaking the original record by 7 days.
In 2007, on her North Pole Solo Expedition, she set out to become the first woman to walk solo to both poles. Setting out in March, ahead lay hundreds of miles of pack ice, icy open water and weeks of blizzards. After 84 extremely gruelling days and 326 miles progress on the ice, Rosie skied, walked, climbed, swam and hauled to just 89 miles from the North Pole. She stopped after an agonising choice because her pilots were in trouble dropping her return supplies on the melting ice of the North Pole. Having battled against the worst conditions in recent history, Rosie nonetheless established herself in the record books, having reached more than 200 miles further North than any other woman solo. During the expedition she experienced temperatures from as low as 55C to dangerously warm levels of 2C, repeated storms, blizzards and shifting ice. Rosie found herself encountering miles of never ending ice rubble and more dangerously, larger and more frequent open water leads, across which she needed to swim, pulling her sled. Overcoming these difficulties on her own made Rosie's journey the more significant and an achievement of epic proportions.
Fellow explorer Pen Hadow said, "I know of no one who would have pushed themselves as Rosie has done and then so gracefully subjugate their personal ambition, with only a few days travel remaining to the Pole, with thought only for the safety of their air support team. Such scale of character is a shining example in a dim world, and I, for one, am proud to salute her courage in the most extreme circumstances."
Rosie Stancer is from the UK and in addition to being an explorer is a wife and mother, has journeyed and explored globally, including residing in Prague and Shanghai. She was also director of Public Relations in a London luxury hotel. She only took to polar exploration in 1996 which brought her fame but intense effort. HRH The Prince of Wales was Patron of both Rosie's solo expeditions and HM Queen Elizabeth II was present to greet her return from the epic North Pole expedition.
Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this lecture, which is HK$100 for Members and HK$150 for others.