Back to the list

Hartley Catharine

Contact :

: Family name website / / / Het Laatste Continent (dutch) / LookSmart Find Articles / (books)

Together with Fiona Thornewill, Catharine and Fiona became the first British women to walk the 680 mile journey across Antarctica to the South Pole between November 1999 and early January 2000. Later, between March and May 2001, Catharine and Fiona walked to the North Pole, hence they were the first women to reach both poles on foot. The trek went from tiny Ward Hunt Island in the Canadian Arctic to the North Pole, a distance of about 480 miles as the crow flies

Originally from Chichester, England but now living in London, Catharine has worked as a stage manager and location manager for theatre and then for the BBC. 
In 1992, Catharine set off for two years traveling on her own. During her time away she lived in the outback of Australia, jumped out of planes in New Zealand and spent time with the indigenous people of the Solomon Islands and Borneo. Her thirst for adventure increased and while cycling around Jordan she became intrigued by the polar regions. Three years later, after much research, Catharine was introduced to Adventure Network, who invited her to join their expedition to the South Pole. 

Struck down with frost bite and at the risk of losing her finger Catharine continued with the 680-mile journey, walking 8 hours a day, eating 5000 calories a day to keep her strength up and sleeping in 24-hour sunlight. She finally reached the South Pole in January 2000. 

North Pole 55-day Trek" - March 11th - May 5th 2001
The team had to battle extremely cold weather conditions, with temperatures as low as -50C, and a shifting ice pack on the Arctic Ocean. The real distance traveled, as a result of drifting ice, was probably closer to 600 miles.