Lonely Planet Writer

Meet the Swedish nurse who became the fastest female to solo ski to the South Pole

A Swedish nurse has become the fastest woman ever to ski from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole, making the incredible journey approximately 10 hours faster than the previous record.

South Pole Solo Ski
Johanna Davidsson pulling her sled with gear. Image by Anna Lovehed

Johanna Davidsson began the epic 1100 kilometre solo skiing trip from Hercules Inlet on the coast of Antarctica, on 15 November, setting off with a sled weighing 120 kilograms, and reaching the South Pole on 24 December, thirty eight days, twenty three hours and five minutes after leaving. The journey saw her pulling all the gear necessary for the extreme conditions, including a tent, snow poles, a sleeping bag, cooking and eating equipment and clothes.

Johanna has become the fastest female to solo ski to the South Pole.
Johanna has become the fastest female to solo ski to the South Pole. Image by Anna Lovehed
Images shared via satellite from Johanna's adventure.
Images shared via satellite from Johanna’s adventure. Image by Solo Sister

“In preparation for the trip I spoke to experienced people, read about other polar trips and trained physically. I have been constantly thinking about the South Pole for the last two years. Shorter winter trips in the Swedish and Norwegian mountains first inspired me to want to explore,” Johanna told Lonely Planet Travel News. Johanna also said that the last two degrees proved to be the toughest of the entire exhibition, teaching her never to take anything for granted when planning ahead.

Having set the record, Johanna will now concentrate on the return journey on the same route.
Having set the record, Johanna will now concentrate on the return journey on the same route. Image by Ellinor Falkgjerdet

The adventure isn’t over yet however, as after setting the new record, Johanna is preparing to tackle the return journey on the same route. This time however, she will be using a kite and special skis, taking full advantage of the katabatic winds that blow towards the coast. Two years ago, Johanna crossed Greenland along with her sisters. They became the first Swedes to ever complete the route and were given the Adventurer of the Year award. Following her return from the South Pole, Johanna will be taking a break. “I have no big adventures planned right now, but I’m sure this is not the last trip I do. I’m looking forward to spending time in more vertical terrain!”. You can follow Johanna’s trip on her website.