Their 'Rivers of Ice' expedition became an international news story when their tent failed unexpectedly on day 30 of the expedition.
Katie-Jane and Tarka knew it would be a harsh and difficult journey especially as they hoped to make a full and unsupported trek from the North to the South, a feat never completed before. They skied, climbed and walked across the Ice Cap in predominantly storm conditions, traversing ice fields with dangerous crevasses, frozen cliffs and glacial river networks. Having completed two-thirds of the crossing in record time, Katie-Jane and Tarka waited for a weather window to cross a technically difficult section of the journey that could only be tackled in good visibility. But as heavy snow fell and the winds increased, their tent poles snapped and the fabric ripped, leaving them no option but to build a survival shelter in an ice hole using the remains of their tent. They were to spend a total of five nights in temporary shelters as they made their way down a sheer glacier to sea-level in storm conditions. Katie-Jane's goggles were damaged so she suffered temporary snow-blindness. A boat couldn't collect them due to the dangers of glacial ice falling, and so a helicopter was sent to pick them up. It was while sheltering from the wind in a crevasse awaiting the helicopter that Tarka produced his Grandmother's engagement ring - he'd secretly carried it in his camera bag for the entire expedition! News of their five-day survival on the ice and Tarka's proposal featured on the news around the world. And although they didn't complete the world-first that they had aimed for, in traversing the Ice Cap as far as they did, Katie-Jane became the first woman to complete a major crossing of the Ice Cap - an extraordinary achievement. They are also the first British expedition to do so.
Katie-Jane and Tarka plan to return to the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap to complete the first full crossing without kites or support. They also continue to plan their ultimate goal - an expedition known as 'One World: Powered by Us'. This epic grueling three-year expedition has been described by Sir Ranulph Fiennes as 'set to be the greatest expedition of the century.' This will be an historic journey. Using only their own motive power, in the form of manhauling, cycling and ocean rowing, Katie and Tarka will go beyond what was believed possible as they navigate the globe on its polar axis to complete the 30,000km epic voyage from one geographic pole to the other.
Katie's story reveals that we can leave our comfort zones and achieve what seems impossible. Her story is about succeeding in harsh conditions and not losing hope and motivation when it gets tough. Katie is passionate about awaking potential in others. Audiences relate to her honesty and humour as she talks about her inexperience and the changes she has made in leaving the glamorous world of modeling behind.
Katie-Jane and Tarka's adventures have been made into two inspirational documentaries: The Great Walk of China (2009) and The African Way (2009). Their story has featured on BBC and ITV news, major national newspapers and magazines such as Bella and Hello!
- Having the courage to change
- Thrive outside your comfort zone
- Staying motivated in tough times
- Setting & achieving goals - no matter how hard they seem