The Guinness World Records describes him as the world's greatest living explorer. Past feats have seen the British adventurer go pole to pole and climb Everest as a pensioner. Sir Ranulph is calling his latest expedition his "greatest challenge to date". After years of meticulous planning, on the 6th of December Fiennes set off on a ship bound for Antarctica. He and his team aim to be the first to cross the Antarctic continent through the winter. The expedition is expected to take six months in almost total darkness and temperatures dipping to minus 70 degrees Celcius. The team aim to raise $10m for Seeing is Believing, an international initiative which is tackling avoidable blindness.
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More about the expedition
The team are currently on board the SA Agulhas and you can read about their cabin fever antics on their Blog. They will be dropped off on the Pacific coast of the continent and will wait for the equinox on 21 March 2013 before setting off over the ice shelf.
"The largest polar expedition to leave the UK for over 30 years" will be lead by Sir Ranulph and a skiing partner on foot, and followed by two bulldozers dragging industrial sledges. Inside three containers on the sledges will be their living quarters, supplies, and a science lab. Dragged behind this will be the fuel they need.
A Science Lab?!
Crossing the Antarctic during winter will provide a unique opportunity to collect key scientific data to further understanding of the effects of climate change, and advance other important areas of research. During the traverse, the expedition team will carry out a number of important tests which will include mapping the height of the landmass using new GPS techniques, sampling surface snow to establish patterns of large-scale atmospheric transport of water vapour across the ice sheet, and sampling for cryo-bacteria capable of withstanding the extreme cold conditions.
The expedition has an amazing list of sponsors, including Bridgedale who are providing the warmest socks for the coldest journey and Montane.
Montane custom design sledge jackets for the expedition
Over the past six months, the Montane design and development team worked with Sir Ranulph to create sledge jackets for him and his team partners. Designed for skiing across Antarctica in winter, the jackets have been designed to be worn while working hard in very hostile conditions.
Paul Cosgrove, Brand Director for Montane, said: “It has been a pleasure and an incredibly interesting project to create jackets for this team and the entire Montane team wish The Coldest Journey Expedition the best of luck in their endeavour.”
The Coldest Journey Expedition Sledge Jacket
© Montane, Dec 2012
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