Hans Florine and Fiona Thornewill training at his gym.
courtesy Fiona Thornewill, SOURCE
Fiona: "Night climbing on High Tor above Matlock might seem an odd thing to do - but I need to prepare for it. But with a 'few deep breaths' it went okay. This pic is me topping out an extreme climb called Darius." (click to expand)
courtesy Fiona Thornewill, SOURCE
Fiona at the Ceremonial South Pole with her record breaking ski in 2003-04.
courtesy Fiona Thornewill, SOURCE
Both Hans and Fiona celebrate their 50's
courtesy Hans Florine Facebook, SOURCE
The route is a sheer 3000 foot cliff of vertical granite.
courtesy Hans Florine, SOURCE
Record Climber and Record Skier to climb The Nose

Posted: Aug 13, 2015 04:15 pm EDT

(Correne Coetzer) During the 2003-2004 Antarctic season 'Fiona and Rosie' had the Polar world at the edge of their seats when each skied solo (unassisted, unsupported) the 1130km from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole: traveling without the knowledge of each other's positions.  


In the end, both British women, Fiona Thornewill and Rosie Stancer, shuttered the 10-year-old 50-day record for women and men on this classic route, held by Norwegian Liv Andersen. Fiona arrived at the South Pole two days earlier than Rosie, on January 11, 2004 after 41 days, 8 hours, and 14 minutes on the ice.    


So what are Fiona and Rosie up to these days? Both became mothers and the flame of adventure are still burning high in their lives. Watch this space to see what Rosie is planning. Fiona’s husband and expedition manager, Mike, sent over news about her latest challenge; to climb The Nose of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, California, September 8th, 2015.  


The team for The Nose


Fiona will be climbing with American veteran climber, Hans Florine. The two met in 2004 when both were invited to Poland to receive rewards; Fiona for her South Pole World Speed Ski Record and Hans for his World Speed Climbing Record on The Nose.


Now Hans has invited Fiona to partner him whilst he attempts his 100th ascent of The Nose. This would be a world record. After much deliberation... Fiona accepted his challenge, and being a mere amateur climber, she is training extremely hard.


Since Fiona is only an amateur climber, climbing The Nose is a truly ‘massive’ step to take. And so whilst Fiona’s aim is not to break the speed record her goal is to succeed - and if possible to do so under the revered time of 3 days. Fiona is also undertaking the climb to celebrate her 50th year.



Fiona Thornewill is married to Mike with two children. She works as a recruitment consultant at Harper Resourcing, in Nottingham, UK. Fiona set her world speed record in 2004, when she became the fastest person to ski 720 miles / 1130km to the South Pole. She also skied from Canada to the North Pole (with a team and resupplied). Fiona is also a professional speaker. Over the years Fiona has received many accolades, and in 2006 was awarded the MBE for services to Charity and Polar Exploration.


Hans Florine, lives in California with his wife, Jacki and their two children. Also in his 50th year, he is regarded as the world’s foremost speed climber. As well as holding numerous speed records all over the globe, Hans won the U.S. National Title no less than eleven times - and won gold at the ESPN X-Games three years in a row. 


Hans has a business degree and presents keynote presentations worldwide. He is the author of “Speed is Power” and is a thought leader in speed and efficiency. Hans is an ambassador for “The  Access Fund’ - a wilderness charity that he is passionate about. 


The Nose of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley California, is the name given to the most famous rock climb in the world. First climbed in 1958 by Warren Harding, the route is a sheer 3000 foot cliff of vertical granite. It has a fierce reputation for tremendous difficulty and is generally regarded as The Holy Grail of rock climbs, by climbers all around the world. 


A normal time to climb the wall is between 3 and 6 days. However over the years an elite group of speed climbers have dedicated themselves to becoming the fastest to climb it. The current record is held by Hans Florine and partner Alex Honnold in 2 hours, 23 minutes. Set in 2012 no one has come close. 


Hans and Fiona are using this opportunity to raise money for the BMC (British Mountaineering Council) Access and Conservation Trust: A charity doing vital work to protect the shrinking British countryside and mountainous areas. Fiona’s Just Giving page: 






Best of ExplorersWeb 2004 Awards: South Pole - Fiona and Rosie


South Pole drama resolved



Fiona Thornewill on Facebook

Fiona’s website

Hans Florine on Facebook

Hans’ website