Trek of a lifetime: Montreal woman sets new record after reaching South Pole on skis

Caroline Cote is back in Montreal, unpacking the enormity of her latest feat.

Not only did the 36-year-old make it to the South Pole on her own, she did it faster than any woman on skis before her, shattering the previous record by five days.

“I’m really happy, not to have broken this record but just that I never stopped in the expedition,” said Cote from her parents’ home in Longueuil, Que.

“Each morning, I felt it was a major challenge to put my skis on and to start the day.”

For 33 days, she battled dangerous windchills, whiteout conditions and altitude sickness, all while tugging a 65-kilogram sled with all of her gear and food.

It was a gruelling 1,138-kilometre trek from the Hercules Inlet to the South Pole.

“The only thing I wanted to do was to go fast, to be able to rest, to be able to arrive to a good meal, to arrive to a good shower, and be warm and safe at the end,” she said.

Côté is an endurance athlete and an experienced polar explorer.

Despite overcoming problems with her skis and solar panels, she says nothing prepared her for weeks of solitude.

“I needed some really good podcasts and really good audiobooks. Listening to some stories about inspiring people, I was able to ski all day thinking about something else other than kilometres to do,” she said.

The only thing she is looking forward now is resting and catching up on what she has missed, like Christmas dinner with her family, as they celebrate the milestone of a lifetime.

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