15:11 17 September 2012
Sir Ranulph Fiennes will set off on a trek across Antartica at the age of 68 on 21st March 2013 as part of a scientific discovery. The legendry explorer and his team will be the first to take on a trip to the South Pole at winter-time, with the already inhospitable environment seeing temperatures of up to -90C.
Being dubbed the coldest journey, the team will look to retrieve scientific information over six months. From the onset while aboard the boat en route to Antarctica data will be collected on marine life, as well as information on the ice shelf and the effects of climate change.
Industrial sledges are expected to be dragged along the trip carrying the team’s supplies, including a living area and even a science lab. The trek, which will present difficulties for the hikers as well as their equipment due to the harsh conditions, is set to raise money for the charity ‘Seeing is Believing’ in aid of blindness.
As reported by the BBC, Sir Ranulph explained that “at -70C a wind of even just 10mph will cut you like a knife,” and it is expected the cold conditions could even freeze the fuel in their vehicles.
Steve Holland, who is in charge of the equipment, added that the team were “taking a technology and pushing it even further”, and that it is not 100per cent certain the gear will work in such cold temperatures.
Sir Ranulph has crossed the Antarctic previously with Dr Mike Stroud, but with the doctor admitting this trip “is as extreme as you can possibly get.”
“The challenge is whether it is possible to operate and be out there in the coldest place on earth at the coldest time of the year,” Dr Stroud told the BBC.
“Your lungs definitely suffer. The air going in is so cold it's going to freeze some of the moisture that's in that system.”
But according to some reports, Sir Ranulph expressed he likes to break records. He became the oldest Brit to climb Mount Everest in 2009, with 2003 seeing him run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.
Other records he holds to his name include the 1982 event where Sir Ranulph completed the first trip around the world, including visits to both the North and South poles. And in 1968, he became the first person to lead a team on an exhibition up the River Nile.
In 1957 Sir Vivian Fuchs went across Antarctica in a similar snow-cat vehicle, but during the summer months. History states that a century ago, Captain Scott died as a result of attempting to beat the Antarctic winter.
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