British Antarctic Record Breaker
I am happy to announce that as of January the 20th 2012, Bryony Balen became the youngest Briton to reach the South Pole from the Hercules Inlet, having turned 21 on the 21st of December 2011. The incredible trek took a total of 56 days, a total distance of 1135km (705 miles) over the coldest environment on our planet.
“I will be taking a year out from a Geography BSc at Newcastle University to focus on a fierce training regime and prepare myself mentally and physically for the challenge ahead. I am aware of the magnitude of the task to come, but building on my enthusiasm for outdoor activities and a personal challenge, as well as an appreciation for the natural world, I see this experience as a natural progression of my interests and exploits.
Whilst at school I helped to organise and successfully completed an expedition to summit Mont Blanc, my first real taste of mountaineering and the skills involved. I started preparations 12 months earlier with twice weekly personal training sessions, a winter survival course and skills workshops, as well extra hours in a part-time job alongside A-level study, to fund equipment. Since then I have been constantly searching for the next chance to push myself further and expand my experience base.
I feel that I have gained basic skills in teamwork and expedition organisation from my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award (I am currently completing my Queens Scout)and have continued to develop these attributes as I have matured and gained confidence. This has resulted in the drive to pursue ambitious trips, including a week Nordic skiing and camping in Svalbard as a taster for life in the Antarctic.
These organisational skills were particularly put to the test this summer after I decided to join a trip to climb Mount Elbrus, Russia (the highest mountain in Europe) just 10 days before it was due to depart. Fortunately daily cycle commutes and regular rock climbing trips provided the fitness required for the 5642m climb and -15 °C conditions, whilst the support of work colleagues and family allowed me to complete yet another personal challenge.
My current goal is to become the youngest Briton to ski from the edge of the Antarctic landmass at the Hercules Inlet to the geographic South Pole. This title is presently held by Andrew Cooney at the age of 23, a record I look forward to beating with your help.”
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