Having got a degree in Classics at Lampeter University and working as both Marketing Manager then Head of Touring for the Watermill Theatre in Newbury for seven years, at 31 Hannah finally fully committed herself to her primary passion - exploring.

In 2001 the urge to explore began to develop with a trip to the Western Desert on the borders of Egypt, Libya and Sudan with a Hungarian lead expedition in search of prehistoric rock art in the mountains of Uweinat and the Gilf Kebir plateau. This extraordinary trip took Hannah to the centre of the second biggest wilderness on the planet, an uninhabited area the size of India, and the sand and space got into her head. For the next three years Hannah continued to return to Jebel Uweinat twice a year via both Egypt and Libya, has made a nerve-wracking first ascent of the tricky 2000m peak from the Egyptian side and attempted an ascent of the unclimbed Mount Tazat in Algeria with an Austrian lead team.

In 2004 Hannah joined a British expedition to explore the isolated Wakan Corridor in the northeast of Afghanistan in search of the source of the River Oxus. The strip is walled by the Hindu Kush in Pakistan to the south, the Pamirs in Tajikistan to the north and the Karakorams in China to the east. The upper regions of this mountain valley can only be reached on foot by crossing several 15,000ft passes and has rarely been visited by westerners. Part of the research was to take DNA samples of the nomadic tribe people there to establish their genetic links to Alexander the Great and his army.

Later that year Hannah turned to a cold desert in an epic 56 day expedition skiing the 730 miles and 10 degrees from the coast of Antarctica to the geographic South Pole. Crossing the vast and monotonous expanse of one of the harshest environments in the world the team of five battled with physical and mental exhaustion, frostbite, injury, hunger and some of the lowest temperatures on earth. 

Far from taking it easy after her Antarctic adventure, Hannah returned to England to a full on sail training programme in preparation for the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. In September 2005 Hannah set sail from Liverpool as a Watchleader aboard Glasgow Clipper. She raced with the fleet from Liverpool to Cascais in Portugal, Salvador in Brazil, Durban, Fremantle and Singapore. Half way through the next leg to China the boats were diverted to The Philippines with major keel issues and the race was delayed for two months for a rebuild.

While the boats were being rebuilt Hannah and her partner David Pryce returned to his home in Australia and bought the 20m aluminium expedition schooner Blizzard. They formed their high latitude sailing company Blizzard Expeditions and eventually did not return to the Clipper Race.

In November/December 2006 Hannah returned to Antarctica and once again skied from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole, but this time solo and unsupported. She set a new world record for the journey of 39 days 9 hours and 33 minutes.

In October 2007 Hannah and David will embark on their first full season with Blizzard sailing from Australia across to Chile and from there around Cape Horn and down to Antarctica. To join Hannah and David on a leg of this epic adventure visit www.blizzardexpeditions.com

Hannah hopes that by writing and speaking about her experiences in the world and sharing them with those who care to read or listen, then she will inspire people to go after their own dreams and achieve their own goals.

In the Media:

Part I of III: Hannah McKeand, from the desert to the ice to the sea
Part II of III: Hannah McKeand, from the desert to the ice to the sea
Part II of III: Hannah McKeand, from the desert to the ice to the sea

www.thepoles.com Solo South Pole 06-07


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