The ‘coldest journey’: British explorer embarks on Antarctica adventure



AGENCIES

Published — Tuesday 8 January 2013

Last update 8 January 2013 2:19 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has embarked on an expedition that he describes as one of the last remaining polar challenges: crossing Antarctica during the region's winter.
Fiennes and his five-member team left Cape Town yesterday aboard a South African polar vessel for what they have dubbed “The Coldest Journey.”
In March, they plan to begin their continent-spanning journey via the South Pole. The plan is to traverse nearly 4,000 km, mostly in total darkness and with temperatures dipping as low as minus 90 Celsius.
Fiennes, 68, says he and his companions will stretch the limits of human endurance.
Fiennes earlier said his bid, with no option of rescue, would be a trip into the unknown despite his multiple record expeditions.
The intrepid adventurer became the oldest Briton to summit Mount Everest in 2009, according to his website. He has also crossed both polar ice caps and in 1992-93, he crossed the Antarctic unsupported.
So far the furthest winter journey in Antarctica covered only 60 miles, in the early 20th century.
“We've been doing expeditions for a total of 40 years. We've broken a great number of world records. In Antarctica we've got two huge records, one in 1979 and one in 1992, but they are all in summer,” Fiennes said.
“So we aren't any more expert than anybody else at winter travel. There is no past history of winter travel in Antarctica apart from the 60-mile journey. So we are into the unknown.”
The Antarctic has the Earth's lowest recorded temperature, and levels of around minus 70 are expected during the six-month crossing.
“This is the first time once we've gone out, all the aeroplanes, all the ships from Antarctica disappear for eight months, and we're on our own and then you're in a situation where you would die,” Fiennes said.
“That is why we have to try and take with us a whole year of supplies and a doctor and everything else like that, which makes it the biggest, heaviest expedition that we've ever been involved with rather than just man against the elements.”
The group will be led by two skiers carrying crevasse-detecting ground-penetrating radars and followed by two tractors pulling sledge-mounted, converted containers with the rest of the team, equipment, fuel and food.
“Anybody who leaves the vehicle and it goes out on skis has to accept the fact that if things go wrong, they will die like people did 100 years ago,” Fiennes said.
The team, which will be carrying out scientific research and wants to raise $10 million for the Seeing Is Believing blindness charity, have tested their clothing and equipment to minus 58 Celsius in Britain and minus 45 in Sweden.
Fiennes said that he and fellow explorers have never used hand-warming equipment on polar expeditions, but “this time we're using every device known to mankind to warm up our bodies, and we've got new breathing apparatuses.”

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Ministry of Education has suspended all parallel education programs, except in medical and engineering specialties, as well as bridging programs for health diploma certificates.Education Minister Azzam Al-Dhakil gave directions to the rec...
RIYADH: The Cooperative Health Insurance Council said it had suspended operations of six medical insurance companies for violating health insurance regulations by issuing insurance policies without completing the required documentation and violating...
JEDDAH: A local survey found that almost half of Saudis abide by rules and laws in public places outside the Kingdom more than they do inside the country.More than one-third of the respondent sample said they violate road traffic signs and directions...
DAMMAM: A 50 percent decline in the prices of some types of fish in the Dammam Central Market was noted compared to the previous month.Fish sellers attributed this decline to an increased fish supply and fall in demand from hotels and consumers durin...
RIYADH: In a two-day operation, police arrested 343 beggars including women and children during the holy month of Ramadan.A police officer said the raid was carried out in the Salehiya district and 220 of those arrested were women from Ethiopia. “Mos...
RIYADH: Hotels in the capital have made special arrangements by setting up Ramadan tents, where diners can visit to begin and break their fast with special suhoor and iftar meals during the ongoing fasting month.As the Ramadan tent is a popular pheno...
JEDDAH: Kaddadin, or unlicensed transporters, say there is good money to be made during Ramadan especially in transporting Umrah pilgrims from Jeddah to Makkah and back.During this month the number of visitors doubles or triples which means the price...
RIYADH: The holy month of Ramadan is lively at night following Taraweeh prayers. Nights are turned into days during the month in the industrial area where there is a large concentration of automobile workshops.The industrial areas are well illuminate...
RIYADH: The Saudi man behind the green project that ensured 3,400 trees in Khurais in the Eastern Province for a government firm has been approached by a Kuwaiti oil company for a similar project. “After learning about the project in the Eastern Prov...
RIYADH: A total of 1,300 Gambian pilgrims will come to the Kingdom to perform Haj this year, Ambassador Omar Gibril Sallah said on Thursday.“We hope that the pilgrims will observe the fifth pillar of Islam in peace and harmony and may Allah accept th...
RIYADH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) and the Disabled Children’s Association (DCA) have launched a traffic safety campaign, to reduce the number of accidents that cause disability.Prince Sultan bin Salman, the SCTNH...
JEDDAH: The holy month of Ramadan is a period when non-Muslim expatriates too abstain from eating, drinking or smoking during the daytime out of respect for Muslims who fast from dawn to dusk and also because it is healthy. The expatriates are also...
A policeman was killed in an anti-terror operation on Friday in the western city of Taif, according to the interior ministry. An exchange of fire resulted in the death of the policeman after a raid to arrest a wanted person, state news agency SPA quo...
RIYADH: Customs authorities at Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah have foiled an attempt to smuggle 52,850 Xanax capsules into the country.The drug, an anti-depressant, banned in the Kingdom, was found hidden under the clo...
RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has ordered that two men face trial for allegedly insulting the late King Abdullah.Quoting reliable sources, a local online publication said that King Salman has also barred Mohsin Al-Awaji and Ab...

Stay Connected

Facebook