Unfolding Maps


#22: The Spirit of a Rock Climber – with Maureen Beck

Maureen (Mo) Beck was born without her left hand, but that didn’t stop her from starting to climb at the age of 12 – to prove everyone wrong, who thought this sport might not be for her. By now she has won multiple titles, including a gold medal at the 2014 Paraclimbing World Championships in Spain and a gold medal at the 2016 World Championships in Paris. In 2019, Maureen was named one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year.

Maureen Beck starred in the 2017 movie “Stumped” which has won numerous awards and toured hundreds of cities all over the world. In the 2019 movie “Adaptive” she went with Jim Ewing – a fellow adaptive climber – on her first alpine expedition to the Northwest Territories in Canada’s Nahanni National Park where they attempted climbing the legendary Lotus Flower Tower in the Cirque of the Unclimbables.



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#28: Euphoria and Terror – Crossing Antarctica with Felicity Aston MBE

“I just think back to that first time I got a proper look at Antarctica: There was something about the simplicity and the beauty and the perfectness of it all that made me want to scoop it all up and somehow contain it in me.”That's a quote from our guest, Polar explorer, Antarctic scientist, author, speaker and expedition leader Felicity Aston MBE. And that is exactly what she did: She preserved Antarctica (and the polar regions) within herself. She spent a continuous period of two and a half years (including two consecutive winters) at Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula. These first experiences in Antarctica then led to numerous expeditions to remote places around the world (but particularly to the Polar Regions): She led record-breaking international teams to the North and South Poles, worked on a nuclear-powered icebreaker at the North Pole, led the first British Women’s crossing of Greenland, skied along a frozen river in Siberia, traversed the winter ice of Lake Baikal, raced in the Canadian Arctic, drove 35,000km across Eurasia to the coldest inhabited place in the world … and in 2012 she became the first woman to ski alone across Antarctica. It was a journey of 1744 km that took her 59 days to complete. With this, she set a world record. And she was not only the first woman to master this tour, but also the first person – male or female – to do so alone and with her own muscle power.Felicity reports on her experiences in four books and regularly produces articles for various publications in the UK and abroad. She has been elected Fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society in London and The Explorers Club in New York, and received many more awards.In this episode, she talks about the challenges she had to face during her Antarctic crossing – and the beauty of it all!