Paraplegic skiing to South Pole

Posted by Ralph | 6:49 PM

Now this is absolutely amazing!

"AN ADVENTURER who uses a wheelchair after breaking her back in a climbing accident will attempt to become the first person to ski to the South Pole using only arm power.

Using a “sit-ski” to propel herself, Karen Darke, 38, of Culduthel Road, Inverness, will negotiate 730 miles of ice and lethal crevasse fields in Antarctica.

During the expedition, called Pole of Possibility, Ms Darke will be joined by her partner, Andy Kirkpatrick, one of the UK’s leading climbers, and Roddy McLauchlan, an Inverness-based personal trainer.

They hope to raise £1million for charities, including the Back Up Trust, an organisation which arranges outdoor sports activity courses for people paralysed through spinal cord injury.

The venture was originally scheduled for 2011, but the team has decided to delay the expedition, which is expected to last for up to 60 days, until the following year.

Ms Darke revealed that she had been asked to take part in the South Pole race that Olympic rowing gold medallist Ben Cracknell and TV presenter Ben Fogle tackled in January this year, but turned down the opportunity.

It was also announced this week that Ms Darke has been shortlisted in the Cosmopolitan Ultimate Women of the Year Awards in the ultimate fearless female category.

Ms Darke said: “I feel quite humble being nominated in the same category as people who do aid work or work in developing countries, but we all have our own strengths.”

Grantown-born Ms Darke was 21 when she was paralysed from the chest down in a rock-climbing accident at Cove, Aberdeen.

Despite using a wheelchair, she has completed an eight-week, 1,200-mile, hand-bike tour across the Tien Shan and Karakoram mountains of central Asia and made a record-breaking 360-mile crossing of Greenland on a sit-ski similar to what she will use in Antarctica.

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