Felicity Aston MBE is a climate scientist, polar explorer, expedition leader and record-breaker. She is both the only woman in the world to have skied across Antarctica alone and the first person in the world to have traversed the continent purely by muscle power. During more than twenty years of undertaking challenging expeditions in the world’s most extreme environments, she has instigated, organised and led the first British women’s team to cross the Greenland icesheet, the world’s largest and most internationally diverse women’s team to ski to the South Pole, and a team of women from across Europe and the Middle East that together skied to the North Pole.
Felicity reflects on her expeditions as both physical and psychological journeys. She believes that great achievements do not require innate outstanding capacity, but rather the building of personal confidence and mental resilience. Felicity has spoken widely about the profound loneliness she experienced traversing Antarctica alone and her personal battle to face, every morning, the extreme climate outside her tent, and to cultivate the perseverance we must all call upon in moments of adversity. Following lockdown, her tactics for dealing with this isolation, and her insights on reintegrating with society have resonated with many.
Felicity’s expeditions have repeatedly broken diversity records. Her ongoing commitment to diversity has plugged data gaps, reshaped scientific understanding, and shown that it is the individual and not the stereotype that counts.
In 2023, Felicity will be leading the B.I.G. North Pole 2023 expedition to collect material for crucial sea ice research. Though she has witnessed first-hand the impact of global warming, her outlook is one of pragmatic optimism: Felicity’s talks are fuelled by a resounding hope. ‘Antarctica is a brutal place. We can’t survive it, and yet we do,’ she points out.
She has published five books about her expeditions and her latest book is ‘Polar Exposure: An all-women’s expedition to the North Pole’ published in 2022. Felicity has co-presented two BBC documentaries, and been featured in top news outlets including National Geographic, Vanity Fair, and Marie Claire. She is a Fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society in London and The Explorers Club in New York and has been appointed MBE as well as awarded the Polar Medal for services to exploration.
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